Daniel Sprong’s Future Could be Uncertain as the Anaheim Ducks Place him on Waivers

ANAHEIM, CA - MARCH 22: Anaheim Ducks rightwing Daniel Sprong (11) on the ice for a face-off in the second period of a game against the San Jose Sharks played on March 22, 2019 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, CA. (Photo by John Cordes/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
ANAHEIM, CA - MARCH 22: Anaheim Ducks rightwing Daniel Sprong (11) on the ice for a face-off in the second period of a game against the San Jose Sharks played on March 22, 2019 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, CA. (Photo by John Cordes/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

The Anaheim Ducks placed Daniel Sprong on waivers this morning. Is there still a future for him in Orange County?

This morning, news broke via multiple sources on Twitter that the Anaheim Ducks had placed 22-year-old Daniel Sprong on waivers. Bob Murray acquired the Dutch forward last season in a trade with the Pittsburgh Penguins, sending defenseman Marcus Pettersson to our fellow webbed foot foes in the Eastern Conference. Sprong’s 19 points in 47 games were nothing to write home about, but it seemed as though the spirited young forward had a future in Anaheim; that is, until this morning.

With preseason’s end came the most difficult roster cuts, as the Anaheim Ducks have to determine the future of their youngest members. The biggest problem going into the regular season was the log jam on the right side. However, Bob Murray took care of that in a big way when the organization bought out the contract of Corey Perry, opening-up space for one of the youngsters. Still, with Ondrej Kase, Jakob Silfverberg, and Troy Terry being the fortunate favorites, this leaves one last spot for Daniel Sprong to potentially fill up; the right-wing side on the fourth line.

There is no shame in being a fourth-line player, especially with Sprong still so young. Nevertheless, with a surplus of fourth-liners currently on the roster, there are many questions that need to be answered if the Anaheim Ducks even wanted to keep him in the lineup. Is it beneficial to Sprong’s development to play on the fourth line where he could potentially be competing for minutes with Derek Grant, Carter Rowney, and Devin Shore? Would he develop better in a role where he was given top-six minutes in the AHL or bottom-six minutes in the NHL? Is there even still a future for Daniel Sprong in Anaheim?

What Does Daniel Sprong’s Future in Anaheim Look Like?

The former second-round draft pick found his freedom in Anaheim last season. His biggest criticism of the Pittsburgh Penguins organization was the lack of opportunities given to him. The Ducks are seemingly doing the same to him this season, hoping he can clear waivers so they can send him to their AHL affiliate, the San Diego Gulls. However, with the Anaheim Ducks top three lines set on the right side for at least the next few years, where does this leave Daniel Sprong?

Had the Justin Faulk trade not fallen through, Ondrej Kase’s departure from the Anaheim Ducks would have been a great opportunity for Daniel Sprong to work his way up in the lineup. Fortunately for us, Kase is here to stay. What is unfortunate for Sprong is that, unless for some reason Terry doesn’t work out the way we had all hoped, he would have been reduced to being the Ducks fourth line right-wing.

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There are, however, questions about Sprong’s future with the organization now that he’s been placed on waivers. He is in a contract year, so why isn’t he being given the chance to prove himself in the big club? Does this have potential trade bait written on it? While the young forward is a little more defensively destitute than we would like to see at this point in his career, the kid has a phenomenal shot that can score goals. He was on pace to score 24 goals with Anaheim last season, and something the team is in desperate need of is goal scorers.

If he was limited to a fourth-line role, this would limit his minutes and possibly his production. Maybe sending him down to the AHL is Bob Murray’s way of adding more value to the player? A team could be more inclined to trade for Sprong if he was producing impressive numbers in a top-six role in the AHL than they would for a player who is potentially in and out of the lineup in a fourth-line role with limited opportunities to produce.

Does this mean this is all a part of Bob Murray’s big plan? No, at this point, this is purely speculation. Nevertheless, a player like Daniel Sprong deserves opportunities that Anaheim simply cannot provide him with right now. Having a potential 20+ goal scorer on the fourth-line would be a great asset for the team, but with the current log jam that still hasn’t necessarily been cleared up, even with Corey Perry’s departure, there simply isn’t room for him unless someone fall’s to injury.

Even then, it isn’t worth it to put him back on waivers during the regular season. The chances of him getting claimed by another team go up exponentially. It is more than likely he will clear waivers right now, as other teams are still trying to figure out their own rosters. In the meantime, us San Diego Gull’s fans will enjoy his presence on the roster. However, Daniel Sprong’s future with the Anaheim Ducks organization is still quite unclear.

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