Daniel Sprong said last Saturday his professional tryout contract with the Seattle Kraken was a “wake up call.”
On Monday, he finished answering it.
Sprong and the Kraken agreed on a one-year extension for the league minimum, $750,000. It is a two-way contract which changes structure if he is sent to the American Hockey League, which in this case would be the affiliate Coachella Valley Firebirds.
Still, the future was extremely uncertain in September. Now, Sprong has clarity.
Hakstol said last Saturday the mission for Sprong, who scored in his pre-season debut on Tuesday, didn’t change as camp progressed.
“Two hundred foot (game), competing, both directions responsibly, working hard defensively, and offensively, when he gets the opportunities – he’s good at what he does,” said Hakstol. “I want players in this room who are 200 foot players, every night.”
Sprong had a quieter game last Saturday, but still registered a hit in 13:43 of ice time, while his extremely heavy shot was deployed for the most ice time on the Kraken power play, 2:59 in total.
Sprong, acquired at trade deadline time for Marcus Johansson from the Washington Capitals, said the wake-up call came when no contract offer came in anywhere this past summer, after his previous contract with the Kraken expired.
“It’s changed something in my game and I think I’ve been showing that in camp,” said Sprong. “I kind of want to make a statement.”
The signing doesn’t guarantee he’ll crack the opening night lineup, but his future is a little more clear. Sprong will either start on the big club, with two more games left to make an impression, or report to Coachella Valley, who will certainly welcome his arsenal for an offensive boost.
Sprong, who tied his NHL career high with 14 goals last season with the Kraken and Capitals, has 98 points and 44 goals in only 109 career AHL games with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, San Diego, and Hershey.
KRAKEN LINEUP VS. CALGARY
If there was ever a game the Kraken lineup remained in flux shortly before puck drop, this is the one. Dave Hakstol said Michal Kempny, who skated in the morning with a red "non contact" jersey, will travel and is day-to-day with an upper body injury, same for Yanni Gourde except who missed morning skate due to illness.
Joonas Donskoi is also out with an upper body ailment and was uncertain to travel as of late morning.
Still, 30 players remain in camp with the mandate to knock the roster down to 23 active players. There is no rush to make the final cuts.
“We’re going to use all the time we have, absolutely,” said Hakstol.
Martin Jones will start tonight in net at Calgary.
KRAKEN MORNING SKATE LINE RUSHES