The Pittsburgh Penguins have signed their 2009 first-round draft pick Simon Despres to a three-year entry level contract, it was announced by Executive Vice President and General Manager Ray Shero. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Despres, 18, will continue to play this season with the Saint John Sea Dogs of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL). The 6-4, 205-pound defenseman, who was selected by Pittsburgh with the 30th-overall pick in the June NHL Entry Draft, has three points (1G-2A) in five games with Saint John this season.
Despres posted 32 points (2G-30A) and a team-high plus-16 rating in 66 games with Saint John last season, adding four assists in four playoff games. He recorded 14 points (1G-13A) and a plus-18 rating in 64 games as a 16-year-old rookie after being selected first overall in the 2007 QMJHL Draft. Despres earned a selection to the QMJHL All-Rookie Team.
The Laval, Quebec native represented Team Canada as an alternate captain at the 2009 Under-18 World Championships in Fargo, North Dakota and was a member of Canada’s gold-medal team at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial tournament in 2008. Despres participated in the 2009 CHL Top Prospects game and represented the QMJHL in the Canada/Russia Challenge.
(Nathan also is a writer for Maineiacs Post to Post and the Maine Hockey Journal. He can be reached at email@example.com)