Simon Despres, D
Hometown: Lavel, Que.
Drafted: 2009 1st round 30th overall – Pittsburgh Penguins
March 2015 – Jim Rutherford swapped skill and upside for defensive presence and experience when he dealt one of the Penguins’ promising young blueliners on trade deadline day. The Pittsburgh GM sent 2009 first-round pick Despres to Anaheim for former Penguin Ben Lovejoy. In 144 career games with the Penguins, the 23-year-old Despres had five goals and 28 assists, including two goals, 15 assists, a plus-9 rating and 64 PIMs in 59 games this season. Roadblocked with NHL vets above him on Pittsburgh’s depth chart and playing inconsistently, Despres did not regularly translate his mobility, size and puck skills into NHL results. Originally signed by the Penguins in 2009 as an undrafted free agent, Lovejoy was traded to the Ducks in 2013 for a fifth-round draft pick. The 31-year-old is coming off a career season in which he was runner-up on the Ducks with 150 blocked shots and finished plus-21. Although he didn’t appear to get a fair return for Despres’ potential, Rutherford has made his blueline harder to play against. Mark Allan
March 2015 – In a one-for-one trade on deadline day, Pittsburgh shipped out 2009 1st rounder Simon Despres to Anaheim for former Penguin Ben Lovejoy. Despres is in the middle of an excellent season where he’s not only shown an upsurge in production (17 points in 58 games) but also improved in his defensive game. In Anaheim, Despres becomes part of a madeover blueline joining newcomer Korbinian Holzer from Toronto. It may take some time to see how Despres is utilized on the west coast but he’ll likely receive secondary powerplay opportunity at the very least. Brendan Ross
April, 2014 – Simon Despres had been the subject of trade rumors all season long. This is most likely due to his amazing potential, but lack of execution at the NHL level. Simon impressed in his time in the AHL this year, which led to a couple of call-ups by Pittsburgh, but he was unable to secure a spot on the big club’s roster and has been assigned to the WBS Penguins for the remainder of the season. Seth Brisendine
March 2013 – Some of the luster has come off of Despres’ offensive upside…Now considered a potential two-way rearguard with less to offer offensively than first thought, though he can hold his own on the second PP unit…Looks like he is in the NHL to stay. – Dobber
April 2012 – Despres has a great package of size, skill, and hockey sense. The biggest asset in Despres’ repertoire is his strong and fluid skating ability. He has great offensive upside that is virtually untapped right now although he will need to use his big frame more often along with producing a heavier shot from the blue line to make an impact in the NHL. He recently landed some playing time in the Stanley Cup Playoffs in Pittsburgh this spring, although has since been sent back down to the baby Pens for more AHL action. – Russ Bitely
Fantasy Outlook: C+
Despres has the size, skills, and hockey IQ to be a monster in the NHL though will need to improve on his shot and physicality.
Simon Despres scores his first career NHL goal on the power-play with a one-time for Pens on 12/17/2011.
Fantasy Prospects Report Notes (Any FPR’s released in the last 18 months will not be listed here):
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Simon Despres statistics courtesy of Elite Prospects