Simon Despres
Image: NHL

Simon Despres


Laval Quebec

Currently Playing In:






Eligible for draft:









Trade with Pittsburgh, 2015


225 lbs.

<<<<<<< Updated upstream

2008-09: Simon Despres was one of the top rated draft-eligible North American skaters going into the 2008-09 season but injured his hip in December and played on it through the season as well as at the World U18s, causing his draft stock to plummet. His limited offensive output, two goals and 30 assists surely didn’t help. The Pittsburgh Penguins, who were familiar with Despres because he was a teammate of Penguin prospect Alex Grant, were more than happy to select him in the first round, 30th overall, of the 2009 NHL Draft.

2009-10: Following a standout performance in training camp, Despres was inked to an entry-level deal and returned to the QMJHL. Playing top-pairing minutes for the Saint John Sea Dogs, the defenseman emerged as one of the top defensemen in the QMJHL, managing nine goals and 38 assists while consistently paired against top opposing forwards. He was even more prolific for the Penguins in the post-season, managing two goals and 17 assists in 21 games.

2010-11: With seven defensemen already on NHL contracts, the Penguins returned Despres to the QMJHL for his overage season. The defenseman clearly benefitted from the additional time in the CHL as he managed 13 goals, and 28 assists, and a plus-29 in only 47 games. Making those stats all the more impressive is the fact he was primarily matched against the opposition’s top forwards. Despres also had an impressive playoff run with St. John, managing four goals and eight assists in 19 games while providing a steadying presence from the blue line. Despres also was a key shutdown defensemen for the Sea Dogs in the 2011 Memorial Cup, where he managed a goal and plus-three rating in three games.

2011-12:  Despres started the season for the Penguins AHL affiliate playing primarily in their second-pairing. However, as injuries gradually ravaged the Penguins NHL roster, Despres was pressed into NHL duties and did not disappoint. Though he was eventually returned to the Penguins minor-league affiliate, he finished with a goal and three assists in 18 NHL regular season games. Despres was once again pressed into NHL duties when the Penguins lost NHL defenseman Paul Martin for the playoffs. Though he managed no points in the post-season and averaged 9:18 in ice time, Despres demonstrated poise and awareness beyond his years. He was eventually returned to the AHL for the post-season, where through 10 games, he managed a goal, an assist, and plus-two rating.

2012-13: Despres skated in 33 of 48 regular season games and played three playoff games for Pittsburgh and was one of the top defensemen for the Penguins’ AHL affiliate during the NHL lockout. The 21-year-old scored 2 goals with 5 assists and was +9 with 20 penalty minutes; averaging 15 minutes per game of ice time with Pittsburgh. In three playoff games during Pittsburgh’s first round series with the Islanders he had no points nor penalty minutes; averaging 11 minutes of ice time. Skating in the AHL prior to the NHL season he scored 4 goals with 3 assists in 27 games and was -5 with 28 penalty minutes. Wilkes-Barre Scranton finished third in the AHL’s East Division and reached the Eastern Conference Finals against Syracuse.


Talent Analysis

Despres possesses a blend of size and swift, fluid skating ability that makes him a special defensive player. He is also very unique in the sense that while his overall upside is largely unknown, particularly on the offensive side of the puck, he already has the frame, skating, and mental ability to play at the NHL level.

"Simon is interesting in the aspect that as a junior player, [he had] the abilities to do everything on the ice," said Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma. "As he turns pro, he is juggling where he fits in terms of being able to add offense, jump into the play, take risk if that's what his offensive game might be, and then be real solid defensively."

Though he will likely never be known as a physical defenseman, Despres has demonstrated a willingness to throw around his huge frame, particularly in delivering occasional bone-crunching hip checks.


Despres was dealt by the Pittsburgh Penguins to the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for Ben Lovejoy.


Top 50: Scheifele, Rundblad slide into unfamiliar territory in the Fall ranking

by HF Staff

Simon Despres - Pittsburgh Penguins

Photo: A quick start to his pro career and an impressive NHL debut defensively led to Simon Despres' improved ranking. (courtesy of Jeanine Leech/Icon SMI)

The 31-40 spots in Hockey’s Future’s Top 50 prospect rankings feature players who were all ranked in the Spring edition, though many saw a great deal of movement from their previous spots. The 2012 NHL Draft can be partially to blame for some of the prospects moving down the list, as there are numerous new faces at the top of the rankings, but two players in particular, Mark Scheifele (WPG) and David Rundblad (PHX) saw a dramatic drop from their previous spots.

Read more»

Olli Maatta, Matia Marcantuoni among Pittsburgh Penguins’ prospects to watch in 2012-13

by Ian Altenbaugh

Olli Maatta - London Knights

Photo: Olli Maatta is one of several Penguins prospects who could see a huge spike in production over the 2012-13 season. (Aaron Bell/OHL Images)

The Pittsburgh Penguins organization injected their prospect pool with a massive amount of talent at every level this past off-season and will consequentially head into the 2012-13 season with many questions. There will be eight new additions to their minor-league roster, but there will also be many eyes on 2012 first round draft picks Derrick Pouliot and Olli Maata, both of whom recently signed entry-level contracts.

Read more»

Numerous positives found in disappointing Penguins post-season

by Ian Altenbaugh
London Knights defenseman Scott Harrington

Photo: Finishing the season with an OHL championship and an appearance at the Memorial Cup, defenseman Scott Harrington easily saw the most post-season success of any Penguin prospect. (Aaron Bell/CHL Images)


Only two years ago an extended run in the NHL post-season was a seeming right of passage for the Pittsburgh Penguins organization and their rabid fanbase. But after two consecutive appearances in the Stanley Cup Finals in 2008 and 2009, the Penguins have experienced dramatic early post-season upsets, the first in 2011 against the Tampa Bay Lightning and most recently in 2012 to the Philadelphia Flyers.

Read more»