The Pittsburgh Penguins are one of the NHL’s top teams in the standings, and despite that, the pipeline of talent is still pretty full. Take former first round pick Simon Despres, who has been named the defenseman of the year for the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL). From the Saint John Sea Dogs website:â†µ
Émile " Butch " Bouchard Trophy – Defenseman of the Yearâ†µ
Simon Després – Saint John Sea Dogsâ†µ
Defenseman Simon Després is the defenseman of the year. First choice of the 2007 Entry Draft, Després finished the 2010-2011 campaign with a showing of 41 points in 47 games and a +/- of +29. Després also represented Canada in the last World Junior Under-20 Championship in Buffalo.â†µ
Despres is eligible to join the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in the AHL as soon as his junior season ends. That, however, might not be anytime soon - the St. John Sea Dogs just swept their opening-round playoff series, and they outscored their opponent by a combined score of 26-2.â†µ
Despres will be professional next season full-time, but all seven defensemen currently on the Penguins roster are under contract. He may start the season in the AHL, like many other young, talented defensemen have with the Penguins, like Kris Letang, Ryan Whitney and Brooks Orpik.