Penguins defenseman Simon Despres has been sent down to the American Hockey League and there’s no question that some key members of the organization are souring on Despres and trade speculation surrounding Despres is only going to mount with the organization being higher on the long-term projections of prospects Derrick Pouliot, Scott Harrington and Brian Dumoulin.
The organization starting to turn on Despres is a reflection on the scouting staff. The Penguins last season quickly soured on 2011 first round pick Joe Morrow and traded Morrow for a declining rental player in Brenden Morrow who was playing on the 4th line in Dallas. That draft the Penguins passed on the likes of Brandon Saad and others.
I’m in the camp that Despres has not gotten a fair shake in Pittsburgh from the coaching staff. They are not patient enough with Despres. He has to play mistake free or he sits. Olli Maatta is a superior young player but the Penguins let him play through tough stretches he’s had but not Despres, despite Despres also being a first round pick.
Interesting how it has played out but the million dollar question is what type of value Despres has around the league. Many people I talk to peg him as nothing more than a No. 3 pairing guy but it only takes one team.
The Penguins, though, need to be patient and smart about the prospects of giving up Despres. Way too early to give up on him and potentially move him for a rental player like they did with Joe Morrow. The team should only move him for a long-term player.