Daniel Sprong and Dominik Simon have both signed two-year extensions with the #Pens for AAV of $750,000 each.
— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) June 25, 2018
Dominik Simon Remains with Penguins
Originally drafted in the fifth round of the 2015 Entry Draft, 23-year-old Dominik Simon completed his entry-level contract this past year with Pittsburgh. Prior to 2017-18, he only suited up for five NHL contests over two full seasons. For the majority of those years, Simon represented the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins at the AHL level.
For the first time, Dominik Simon suited up more often at the NHL level (33 games) than AHL (21) last year. Furthermore, the center contributed four goals and eight assists for 12 points in Pittsburgh. His strong relative Corsi-for percentage and relative Fenwick-for percentage metrics, +2.3 and +4.3 respectively, indicate he pushed the play more often than he cost his team too. His consistent, responsible play led him into the lineup for eight post-season contests as well, where Simon assisted on three Penguins goals.
Next Season for Simon
Although still relatively unknown in the NHL, Dominik Simon has quietly been developing admirably in the Penguins’ system. In two years at the AHL level, he racked up nearly 100 points (40 goals, 54 assists). Then, he performed at nearly a point per game pace in the AHL last year for the first time with 17 points in 21 games. This earned him nearly a half-season of games at the NHL level, plus two playoff series. Another step forward can easily be envisioned for Simon’s career next season.
Simon is an early favourite to draw into the Pens lineup from the get-go this year as a bottom-six forward. His goal will likely be to stick in the NHL for the full season, and as long as he continues to build as he has been, that should be easily accomplished. Expect to see Simon centring the third and fourth lines in Pittsburgh night in and night out next season.
Sprong is considered the Penguins top prospect. Last season, he played eight games with the Penguins, recording two goals and an assist. He also scored 32 goals and 33 assists for 65 points with Wilkes-Barre Scranton in the AHL. Sprong was drafted by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the second round, #46 overall at the 2015 NHL Draft.
Per Ben Kerr:
Sprong has great speed and outstanding acceleration coming off the wing. His ability to change speeds while carrying the puck can help him to blow past a flat-footed defender. He also has very good agility, and edge work. Sprong can slip by a a defender with quick cuts. Add to this his stick handling ability, and you have a player who can be a threat to go coast-to-coast at any time.
Defenders must respect his speed, and when they back off he can use the open space to unleash his deadly shot. When working down low, he must get stronger and be better at taking a hit going forward. This is specifically true of his lower body, where some more muscle would help him be more powerful and better balanced to be stronger on the puck.
Sprong is a pure sniper. He has a bullet wrist shot with a deadly release. He is dangerous every time he touches the puck, and loves to shoot. In fact there are times when he might get too focused on taking the shot instead of looking for a teammate. Don’t get the wrong impression though, Sprong also has excellent passing ability and can thread the needle and play the role of play maker if a linemate has an opportunity. He just needs to work on doing it a little more often.
Sprong has excellent stick handling ability and the soft hands to get the puck past defenders or to finish plays in tight. He shows effort in the corners, but Sprong must get stronger to win board battles. He has high hockey IQ and the ability to find open spots in the defence to set himself up to unleash that wrist shot or a strong one-timer.
Defensively Strong’s game is a little up and down. There are times where he shows good instincts, and strong positional play. He helps on the backcheck and supports the defence. However he doesn’t always bring this consistent effort every night. If his Charlottetown Islanders are down a goal or two, he feels that he needs to do it all offensively and start to cheat, looking for a long breakout pass and not always get back hard in the defensive zone. He was a bit better defensively this past season, there is still work to do, but his game has started to show maturity.
Sprong made the Penguins out of training camp two years ago. He hopes to repeat the feat this year. With the Penguins losing some talent up front, there is plenty of opportunity for Sprong. He just needs to seize it in training camp.
Main Photo: RALEIGH, NC – FEBRUARY 23: Pittsburgh Penguins Winger Dominik Simon (12) brings the puck up the ice during a game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Carolina Hurricanes at the PNC Arena in Raleigh, NC on February 23, 2018. Pittsburgh defeated Carolina 6-1. (Photo by Greg Thompson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)