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Penguins give Simon Despres two-year, $1.8 million contract

Jul 18, 2014, 8:46 PM EDT

Simon Despres Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Penguins announced today that defenseman Simon Despres has agreed to a two-year, $1.8 million contract.

Despres, who was a restricted free agent after completing his entry-level contract, split the last three seasons between Pittsburgh and AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. He has a golden opportunity to cement his status as an NHL regular though as his new deal is one-way. The 22-year-old had five assists and 26 penalty minutes in 34 NHL contests as well as 23 points in 36 AHL games last season.

He joined Kris Letang, Paul Martin, Christian Ehrhoff, Rob Scuderi, and Robert Bortuzzo as one of the six blueliners signed to one-way contracts. With Olli Maatta also set to make the team, it looks like the Penguins’ defense has been all-but finalized ahead of training camp.

Penguins GM Jim Rutherford still has some work to do though as forwards Brandon Sutter and Nick Spaling are restricted free agents.

  1. c9castine - Jul 18, 2014 at 11:41 PM

    big deal here. Despres was jerked around a lot by Bylsmas staff and was up and down a lot for a couple year. Very talented, he deserves this show of faith and the opportunity to play in the top 6 regularly

  2. blomfeld - Jul 18, 2014 at 11:45 PM

    “Recession means that people’s incomes, at the employer level, are going down, basically, relative to costs, people are getting laid off” – George W. Bush, Washington, D.C., Feb. 19, 2004

    Sorry all you ‘flightless bird’ fans out there, however we Stanley Cup Champion LA Kings no longer consider you people to be a ‘legitimate’ threat ! :)

    • brycewest - Jul 19, 2014 at 2:51 AM

      Blom…at what point do your dry and irrelevant posts go from generally irritating to genuinely pathetic? Apparently…today. The Penguins signed a depth defenseman…and you somehow found an embarrassing, asshat way to boast about the Kings (fairweather)….having nothing to do with the article. Blom…draw a nice bath…get comfortable….here’s a toaster.

  3. sjsharks66 - Jul 19, 2014 at 12:39 AM

    Im glad Bortuzzo has a spot on the roster.

    • jpelle82 - Jul 19, 2014 at 11:27 AM

      me too, I hope he keeps that edge about him and stays in people’s faces. he’s gonna have to fill engelland’s role because none of the other top 6 guys will drop the gloves.

  4. penguins87and71 - Jul 19, 2014 at 1:09 AM

    I think Despres can become a pretty good defensemen in the NHL. His never really been given a chance with the Penguins, Bylsma and his coaching staff gave him no room for error, and when he made a mistake they benched him for 5 games. Hopefully Mike Johnston and his staff are more patient with Despres. His a young player and his going to make some mistakes, but the only way his going to learn is by playing everyday.

  5. killerpgh - Jul 19, 2014 at 9:48 AM

    Good contract. If he is in the AHL the cap hit is below the cut off so nothing counts towards the NHL cap. I think he will make the squad and contribute to the Penguins this season. Bylsma said after the post season loss to the Bruins 2 years ago Despres would be in the top 4 last season, but than never gave him a chance after Despres showed up for camp out of shape. Hopefully that was wake up call to him. And the new coach in used to dealing with younger players so this should also be good news for the young guys.

    From everything I have read about this weeks penguins prospect camp is that Brain Dumoulin has looked great and also looks ready for a roster spot on the big club. There is another buyout window starting tomorrow. I wonder if Scuderi will get bought out. He had a bad year and has 3 years remaining at a cap hit of 3.375. He did break his ankle early in the year last season and missed over 1/4 of the season because of it. So the GM(s) will have to decide if he is a washed up player or play who struggled after an injury.

    • jpelle82 - Jul 19, 2014 at 10:48 AM

      its a one way deal so despres should be happy either way. he’s basically getting paid 900k to be a healthy scratch since I figure he will be the 7th man at best, which means they will keep him with the team, not in the AHL.

    • jpelle82 - Jul 19, 2014 at 11:23 AM

      you’re a little crazy to think scuderi is going anywhere, I thought he had a good season doing what he was brought in to do. he clears pucks to the corners and fills the passing lanes very well. he also plays pucks coming out from behind his own net very well, which we all know fleury famously struggles with. not to mention I don’t know how many times he stopped passes coming through the slot by laying his stick flat on the sheet or knocking them out of midair. he doesn’t do much after that, he’s not the guy that’s going to then go retrieve and skate it up and he’s not the guy who’s gonna lay you out at the blue line. I think they get him a partner this year to compensate and it will help alter this false impression people seem to have of his game. a healthy martin should do the trick.

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