I cannot be the only Pens fan who loves what they have seen so far from Simon Després. I know some people within the Pens organization believe if he has one more season at junior he will dominate. I believe that is true as well. But when you are as in the Pittsburgh Penguins position of being a cup contender season after season, you should have your twenty best players on the ice. Després has been one of those players. I know the biggest reason to have him play one more season in junior is because he is 19 years old. My arguement is three defensemen who were the same age as Després. Those young defensemen were Drew Doughty, Tyler Myers and P.K. Subban.
Drew Doughty was 18 going on 19 in is rookie season he played in 81 games. Dought scored 6 goals, 21 assists for 21 points. That experience helped him in his second season where he scored 16 goals, 43 assists for 59 points in 82 games. Plus he was Canada's best defensemen in the Olympics and received a Norris Trophy nomination while helping the Los Angeles Kings to a surprising playoff berth. Tyler Myers was 19 going on 20 in his rookie season for the Buffalo Sabres last season. All Myers did was play in all 82 games. He also scored 16 goals, 43 assists for 59 points and helped the Buffalo Sabres reach the playoffs. Myers received the Calder Trophy for top rookie as a defensemen.
As we all know about P.K. Subban having played against him in the playoffs last year. Yeah, Subban did not play an entire season with the Montreal Canadiens. In fact he has only played 2 regular season games. All were last season. They wanted to let him grow and mature more. Too bad for the Caps and the Pens he did some of it in the playoffs. Yes, he made some mistakes but most if not all of you have to say majority of the time he looked calm, composed and poised beyond his 20 years of age. He played 14 games scored 1 goal, 7 assists for 8 points. His defense majority of the time was superb. I mention Subban because he played well in the most important time of the year. In probably the most difficult city to play hockey. Just ask Carey Price.
My point is just because Simon Després is young (19 years old) does not mean he should not at least start his hockey season with the Pens. Will Després put up the numbers and play the way Doughty, Myers and Subban played? Who knows. He has the potential to be that productive. My three options for Simon Després are:1)If he plays well beyond the ten games then he should be in a Penguin jersey for the whole season. 2) If he plays less than 10 games and they feel he needs more experience at junior (ex:Kris Letang) then they can send him back to junior to possbily dominate. 3) Of course when they make the final cuts he will be apart of them and they can send him back to junior and possibly make his debut later this season or next season. I don't think this should be the option since he is playing well. When you have 5 defensemen like Martin, Michalek, Orpik, Letang and Goligoski having a young talented defensemen like Després would not be the disaster you think it should be.
The 6th defensemen job was supposed to go to Ben Lovejoy with Andrew Hutchinson and Deryk Engelland competing with Lovejoy. But, can anyone say Ben Lovejoy, Andrew Hutchinson or Deryk Engelland have been better than Simon Després? Who knows what the Pens will decide with Simon Després. As Penguins fans we have to feel fortunate to have a new state of the art arena. Plus players like Crosby, Malkin, Staal, Kunitz and a couple of players with the potential that Tangradi and Jeffrey have, a franchise goalie in Fleury and now a defense of Martin, Michalek, Orpik, Letang, Goligoski and Després as early as this season no later than next season. How fortunate are we?