With the 30th pick in the 2009 NHL Draft, the Pittsburgh Penguins selected defenseman Simon Despres. I was pretty confident heading into the draft that the Pens were looking to add to the blueline. The Pens obviously have enough going for them on the wings and couldn't possibly add another center to the parent team if they tried. In the SBN Mock Draft Hooks and I decided on Stefan Elliot, an offensive defenseman that more or less carries the same qualities as Despres.
A lot has been said of Despres's abilities. Even scouts initially projected Despres in the 12-15 slots. The fact he dropped to the last pick in the first round may say something, but not all of it is negative.
Some would argue Despres was a good player on a bad team. As a member of the QMJHL Saint John Sea Dogs (34-30-2), Despres posted two goals and 30 helpers over 66 games. The Dogs edged into the playoffs but were swept by the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles in the first round.
Simon hails himself as a big defenseman that can skate, although he admits he has to shoot a little more (as I'm sure two goals last season would indicate).
Audio from his post-draft presser below (PS - I edited out the French replies)
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