The Pittsburgh Penguins announced Monday they signed RW prospects Daniel Sprong and Dominik Simon to two-year contracts with an average annual value of $750,000. Depth defenseman Kevin Czuczman was re-signed to a one-year, two-way contract which would pay him $650,000 at the NHL level.
Sprong, 21, has excited fans and Penguins management with his offensive potential. This season was his first full professional season after playing 18 games with the Penguins in 2015-16, before being returned to his junior team, the Charlottetown Islanders. Sprong missed most of last season after shoulder surgery and played in Charlottetown as an overage player.
This season, in eight NHL games, Sprong recorded three points, including two goals. All of his points were scored against the New York Islanders on Jan. 5. He was scoreless in the other seven games but did record three games with three hits, as well.
By playing 18 games in 2015-16, Sprong’s entry-level contract clock began, which made him an RFA this offseason (instead of 2019), and he is no longer waiver exempt. In the AHL, Sprong was a leading rookie and scorer with 65 points (32g, 33a) in 65 games. His 32 goals tied for second most in the AHL, and the 65 points were fifth best in the league. He was also an AHL All-Star.
Sprong was a second-round pick but the Penguins first selection, (46th overall) in 2015.
Domonic Simon, 23, was called up at the same time as Sprong this season, but the small winger stuck around, often playing on Sidney Crosby’s right wing. Last month, the Czech born winger’s European agent, Michael Sivek made waves by suggesting Simon could bolt for Europe. However, Monday’s signing should keep Simon in the NHL, or the Penguins organization, for at least two more years.
Simon scored 12 points (4g, 8a) in 33 games.
The small forward’s best season AHL season was his rookie year. He led the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins with 25 goals and had 23 assists in 68 games. Simon earned a spot in the 2016 AHL All-Star Game. The Penguins initially selected Simon in the fifth round (137th overall) in the 2015 NHL Draft.
Czuczman, 27, spent the majority of this season with the WBS Penguins. He led WBS Penguins defensemen with 35 points (4G-31A), and a +15 rating in 71 games. Czuczman was briefly called up by the Penguins but did not dress for any games.