By: Will Burchfield
A season that began in promise for Ryan Sproul has ended in pain.
The 24-year-old defenseman suffered an ACL injury in the Red Wings’ loss to the Oilers on Saturday night and will be out for the rest of the year. It remains to be seen whether or not he’ll need surgery.
Sproul absorbed a huge hit against Edmonton, one that sent him over the boards and into Detroit’s bench, but that didn’t appear to be the play in which he was injured. He didn’t leave the game until the next period, after he fell behind his own net and had to be helped off the ice by teammates.
Sproul, Detroit’s second-round draft pick in 2011, played his way onto the Wings’ roster during training camp and shined in his season debut. But he struggled to stay in the lineup due to his defensive inconsistencies and spent large chunks of the season as a healthy scratch.
Including Saturday’s contest versus the Oilers, Sproul appeared in just 27 of the Red Wings’ first 63 games. He’ll finish the season with one goal, six assists and a minus-seven rating.
Update: Jeff Blashill told reporters on Tuesday that Sproul may not be shut down for the season, after all.
The Wings are delaying that decision for at least the next 10 days to give the swelling in Sproul’s knee time to subside. The extent of his absence will ultimately be dependent on whether or not he needs surgery.