PITTSBURGH PENGUINS SELECT DEFENSEMAN SIMON DESPRES WITH 30TH OVERALL PICK OF THE 09 NHL ENTRY DRAFT
The Pittsburgh Penguins selected defenseman Simon Despres from the Saint John Sea Dogs of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) with their first selection (30th overall) of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft Friday night in Montreal.
Despres, 17, was ranked eighth among North American skaters heading into the draft. The blue-liner represented Team Canada as an assistant captain at the 2009 Under-18 World Championships in Fargo, North Dakota, finishing with two assists and a plus-five rating. He was also a member of Canada's gold-medal effort at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial tournament in 2008.
The 6-4, 205 pound defenseman recorded 32 points (two goals, 30 assists) and had a team-high plus-16 rating in 66 games during the 2008-09 season. He contributed four assists in four playoff appearances before the Sea Dogs were eliminated by Cape Breton in the first round.
Despres was selected to participate in the 2009 CHL Top Prospects game and for the second straight season he represented the QMJHL in the Canada/Russia Challenge.
The native of Laval, Quebec recorded 14 points (one goal, 13 assists) and a plus-18 rating in 64 games as a 16-year old rookie, after being selected first overall in the 2007 QMJHL Draft. He tied a Saint John record with five assists in one game (Jan. 18, 2008) and was selected to the QMJHL All-Rookie Team for his efforts. Despres has played in 130 career games in the QMJHL, tallying 46 points (three goals, 43 assists) along with 104 penalty minutes over two seasons with the Sea Dogs. He has collected eight points (eight assists) in 18 post-season appearances for Saint John’s.