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Player Grades: Ryan Sproul

Up next in our player grade series is Ryan Sproul, a promising defensemen who didn’t get as much of a chance as he should have.

Detroit Red Wings v New Jersey Devils Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Player Profile:

Name: Ryan Sproul
Born: Mississauga, ON, CAN , 1/13/93
Height/Weight: 6’4” , 211 lbs.
Position: Defense
Contract: RFA in 2018-19

Player Stats:

GP: 27
Goals: 1
Assists: 6

Season Narrative:

Ryan Sproul was one of several Red Wings players who had a tough time getting into and staying in the lineup.

He ended up playing in 27 games, but he could (and in my opinion should) have been in the lineup more consistently before his season-ending injury.

His leash was so short as to be non-existent, as every time he made a noticeable mistake, he came out of the lineup rather than have the chance to play through it. This disappointing aspect could have at least been ameliorated with a greater role down the stretch, but his injury kept that from happening.

While at least some of Sproul’s performance this year can be chalked up to not having consistent playing time as well as knowing that a mistake could lead to a long period as a healthy scratch, his statistics do not show a player who had a strong season.

What He Did vs. Expectations:

Many people expected Ryan Sproul to provide an offensive spark to our blueline. He is a right-handed shot, something the team desperately needed on the power play.

Let’s start off with a positive statistic for Sproul: He was 3rd on the Red Wings defense in PPG with 0.26 (behind Jensen at 0.27 and Green at 0.5).

If we change that to 5v5 P60, he drops below Ouellet, but he’s still 4th out of 10 Detroit defensemen playing over 200 minutes. (Green 1.09 / Jensen 0.97 / Ouellet 0.78 / Sproul 0.73)

Let’s take a look at a few of Sproul’s advanced stats this year:

All stats score/venue/zone adjusted. Rank out of 10 Red Wings defensemen who played at least 200 minutes for Detroit this season

Even though the team as a whole did not do well in 5v5 possession, Sproul was a full 1.5% under Danny DeKeyser (the next lowest defenseman).

I looked at GF% and xGF% to see if maybe he made up for his low possession stats in other ways.

Out of all 5v5 goals scored when he was on the ice, 38.03% of them were scored by Detroit. The next lowest on the team was DeKeyser again (at 41.94).

Expected GF% takes into account shot quality for and against, but this stat shows that his actual GF% was almost 2% lower than the quality of shots predicts. This indicates that the goals scored when he was on the ice are in line with the quality of shots given up, it wasn’t a matter of being unlucky.

But, maybe he makes up for that on the power play, you might think.

Zone/Venue/Score Adjusted

If you’re wondering where Nick Jensen is in this chart, the team didn’t score a goal with him on the ice 5v4 this season, although he had fewer than 11 minutes 5v4.

GF60 shows how many 5v4 goals the team scored per 60 minutes of 5v4 time with the player on the ice. IPP60 is similar, but it measures the number of 5v4 goals and primary assists the individual player recorded per 60 minutes.

With the small number of 5v4 goals scored, especially by Detroit this season, you don’t want to read too much into this, but he didn’t “slap Blashill in the face,” to use a term that you had hoped to never hear again. (Sorry).

Final Grade: D+

I wanted this to be higher, but his numbers don’t justify it. I do think that Sproul should have had more playing time in general and more consistent playing time.

To me, Sproul showed promise, and I would like to see him get a real chance next season, if there are no defensemen with a higher ceiling who should be getting that playing time.

I fluctuated between a C- and D+, but went with the lower grade because of his stats. Taken by themselves, his stats are D or D- for me, but I think that inconsistent ice time did play a role.

From what I remember of Sproul, I thought that his stats would have been better, so he could be a case of a difference between the stats and the eye test.

Next up in our series, Tomas Jurco.


What grade should Ryan Sproul receive?

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  • 2%
    (9 votes)
  • 5%
    (24 votes)
  • 52%
    (228 votes)
  • 32%
    (140 votes)
  • 7%
    (31 votes)
432 votes total Vote Now