2011 NHL Draft Rankings: 48) Ryan Sproul
In 61 games with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds of the OHL, Ryan Sproul scored 33 points as he is a defenseman more prone to getting his name on the scoresheet than the two players slated to be selected right before him.
Although Sproul’s 6’3 frame makes him a good height for a defenseman, his 175 pounds makes him somewhat smaller than the average blueliner. After January 1, only Ryan Ellis (CHL Player of the Year) scored more goals a defenseman than Sproul.
In terms of strengths, Sproul has tools that any team can ask for in a defenseman. Most of his 14 goals came via his heavy slapshot. Although he had a decent start to the season, his game improved dramatically as the year went on. Sproul has raw offensive tools, sees the ice well and, most importantly in a D-man, he has the uncanny knack of finding shootling lanes.
On the downside, there are a few aspects to Sproul’s game that needs improving. For instance, his quickness and lateral agility could be better as well as his decision-making and defensive game. Sproul is also not overly physical, which would be a liability if he were to make the transition to the pro level in the coming months.
For Ryan Sproul to develop into an NHL defenseman, he’ll need to improve his skating. Once and if he does, he will contribute on the power play.
NHL Central Scouting: 54th (among North American skaters)
International Scouting Services: 60th
The Hockey News: N/A
**Numbers provided by TSN.ca