The Pittsburgh Penguins saw plenty of promise from Dutch forward Daniel Sprong this past season – so much, in fact, that the club kept him at the NHL level for the first half of the year, despite being just 18.
This summer, though, his development suffered a minor setback – which will keep him from joining the club at the NHL level to begin his second post-draft season as a member of the Penguins organization.
The club confirmed on Friday that Sprong, who finished his 2015-16 campaign back in the QMJHL with the Charlottetown Islanders, has undergone shoulder surgery and will need seven to eight months to recover. This puts his return to the lineup at, at the very earliest, around mid-January; at the worst, he could be out until a few weeks after the All-Star break for 2017.
Drafted 46th overall by the Penguins at the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, Sprong – who grew up in Amsterdam before heading to Quebec to further his hockey development – spent 18 games at the NHL level this past year, recording two goals in the process. He was then returned to his major junior team, where he put up 46 points in 33 games – and finally finished out his year with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins of the AHL in the postseason, where he recorded five goals and seven points in ten games for the minor league club.
He was recalled as a black ace during the team’s championship run; per the Penguins, this is when Sprong was injured, although the team won’t give any details on what, exactly, the surgery was for.