Author: Mike Halford

2015 NHL Draft - Portraits

Pens sign prospect Sprong to entry-level deal


Daniel Sprong, the Quebec league sniper Pittsburgh took with its top pick at this year’s draft, has signed his three-year, entry-level deal with the club.

Sprong, 18, scored 39 goals and 88 points in 68 games for Drummondville last season, his second with the team. Prior to the ’15 NHL Draft, Sprong was rated the 20th-best North American skater by NHL Central Scouting and the 26th-best player overall by International Scouting Services — yet fell all the way to No. 46, which is where Pittsburgh selected him.

Sprong is currently scheduled to participate on Pittsburgh’s prospects team at an upcoming rookie tournament (Sept. 10-13) to be held in London, Ontario.

Kings bringing veteran goalie Budaj to camp on PTO

Peter Budaj
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The Los Angeles Kings are giving Peter Budaj a shot at earning a contract in training camp, per LA Kings Insider.

Budaj, the 32-year-old veteran that spent last year with Winnipeg’s AHL affiliate, will attend camp on a professional tryout, the club confirmed on Friday.

The news comes after L.A.’s backup from last season, Martin Jones, was traded away to Boston. The Kings later filled their No. 2 void by signing Jhonas Enroth in free agency.

Budaj will now try to secure a deal as the club’s No. 3 or 4 option and, if he’s successful, would presumably land with the club’s new AHL affiliate in Ontario (CA).

Though Budaj has fallen on hard times and was beaten out of the backup spot last year in Montreal by Dustin Tokarski, it’s easy to see why the Kings are giving him a shot.

L.A. is a little light on goalie prospects, having traded away the likes of Jones, Ben Scrivens and Jonathan Bernier in recent seasons, and could use a veteran stopgap. The Kings do have a pair of young fifth-round picks (Alec Dillon and Patrick Bartozek) in the system, though, along with J.F. Berube, who helped the Monarchs capture the Calder Cup last year.

Detroit adds analytics specialist to front office

Colorado Avalanche v Detroit Red Wings

You can add Detroit to the growing list of NHL teams employing a full-time analytics advisor.

On Friday, the Red Wings announced the hire of Bryan Campbell as their their Director of Statistical Analysis and Hockey Administration. More on the new hire, courtesy Winging It In Motown:

Joining the organization in the summer of 2015, Campbell will work closely with Executive Vice President and General Manager Ken Holland and Assistant General Manager Ryan Martin, focusing advanced statistical analysis and analytics in the areas of salary trends, contract valuations, free agent market acquisitions, trades and other areas, as well as comparative research for contract negotiations and salary arbitrations, collective bargaining agreement administration and compliance and coordinating player transactions. He will also scout games locally at the professional, collegiate and junior levels.

A 2006 graduate of Union College with a degree in mechanical engineering, Campbell played college hockey and skated in 100 games with the Dutchmen from 2002-06. He went on to earn a master’s degree in business administration at York University.

Before his time with the Red Wings, Campbell worked in finance in New York.

As mentioned above, the Red Wings are just the latest to jump aboard the “let’s get us a fancy stats guy” bandwagon that’s been prevalent over the last couple of years.

In the last few months alone, the Carolina Hurricanes hired Eric Tulsky, and Arizona hired John Chayka.