At MedStar Capitals Iceplex on Saturday, Daniel Sprong again found himself skating with the Washington Capitals extras. Amid Carl Hagelin‘s eye injury and a week-to-week ailment for Joe Snively, the team has called up Axel Jonsson-Fjallby to help fill in for what appears to be the long haul. And for Sprong, that could mean a future in flux.
The 24-year-old drew back into the lineup with Washington having just 12 healthy forwards available for Thursday’s tilt with Carolina. He again went scoreless, skating just 8:35 minutes on the third line with Connor McMichael and Lars Eller. And as inconsistencies continue to plague his game, he is the odd man out.
“I think in pockets, he’s played really well,” general manager Brian MacLellan said of Sprong’s game. “Obviously, the goal-scoring talent, the natural talent, he’s got one of the best releases or shots in the league. He can score goals from pretty much anywhere.”
However, the GM did note some drawbacks.
“I think the coaches would like to see the details in his game. They would be more concerned with the details in his game than the goal-scoring. At times, he provides that. And at times, he doesn’t.”
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Through 43 games this season, Sprong has eight goals and five assists, as well as a plus/minus rating of plus-4. At times, he has struggled when it comes to the backcheck and two-way play, and he has gone six games now without a point. The inconsistencies raise some concerns, and with AJF coming up and adding speed and versatility with his ability on the PK, Sprong could sit for quite a bit. Still, the team does need an extra forward.
At the same time, the Capitals are looking for “identity” with their middle-6, and Sprong could be an asset with the trade deadline approaching. He carries a cap hit of $725,000 and is a restricted free agent at the end of the season.
What the future holds remains to be seen, but for right now, it looks like he could be a scratch for the time being. And in the end, it may not exactly benefit both parties with the roster ever-changing and the threat of injuries looming.