Despres performing above expectations
Word out of Pens headquarters today is that Simon Despres remains in camp because management is seriously considering him as an option for their No. 6 defenseman spot.
I was told if the Penguins weren’t still weighing the option, he would have been sent back to juniors on Wednesday and is not being kept around just for the experience.
While the 9-game window has always been a thought, apparently the Penguins initial plan was to have Despres spend a week in camp, play one preseason game, then be sent back to juniors.
In the eyes of management he’s been that good through two games and the Penguins initial plan has been changed.
When you see higher ups in Penguins management such as GM Ray Shero and assistant GM Jason Botterill asked about Despres, they seem to get a big smile on their face immediately. Coming into camp, one source told me management felt Despres made great strides last season and was only a year or two away from being a regular contributor at the NHL level.
However, it appears the team has been amazed by what they’ve seen from him in camp on a day-to-day basis against NHL players and now that estimated arrival timetable is potentially being moved up.
What I saw from Despres at practice today was a player who is oozing with confidence. Despres told me today he’s very excited about still being in the mix and the job that the coaches do in the summer camp has helped him adapt to the Penguins system.
“I’m very happy, taking it one day at time and try to do my best work, ” Despres told Inside Pittsburgh Sports.
“They do a good job in the summer camp, getting us ready for this, ” Despres told me when asked about coming from juniors and playing in Dan Bylsma’s system. “They teach us their system early and everyday i get better, more comfortable and I feel like I’m getting better everyday.”