Found December 14, 2013 on The PensNation:
Nhl-rookie-tournament
By: Melissa Esing (@Off_thepost)   Photo Credit: Justin K. Aller/Getty Images   Throughout the 2013-2014 NHL season, I’ll be posting player features each Friday, with the exception of this week.  Today, we’re going to take a look at Simon Despres.  Former 2009 first-round pick, Simon Despres, worked hard to improve his consistency and efforts while with the Wilkes-barre/Scranton Penguins, and showed his worth off to the Pittsburgh Penguins. He was the most likely player to be called up. He’s the type of player with offensive instincts, but he’s pushed to focus more on his defensive skills. This, without a doubt, is a period of reconstruction for Despres in order to keep him in the line up. In 2012-2013′s shortened season, he finished out with +9 while producing seven points over a 33-game period. Not too shabby, for a rookie. However, after the season, Despres no longer had a spot on the team. It was hard to maintain a spot after the signing of Rob Scuderi. With Paul Martin out 4-6 weeks on injured reserve due to a fractured tibia, this opened the doors wide for Despres to prove himself. Martin is easily one of our top defenseman, which isn’t someone you can simply replace, leaving big shoes to fill. Joining Martin’s absence is Brooks Orpik, leaving an even bigger gap for the Penguins’ defense to fill. It’s quite a loss having the two of them out, and in such a crucial time, the Penguins looked to their young, developing Wilkes-barre/Scranton Penguins. That’s where Despres comes in to play. He’s not at a level where he can play the amount of minutes-per-game that Martin plays, but this is a great new start for him to reestablish himself. While playing against the Toronto Maple Leafs in November, Despres put up four shots on goal, which Dan Bylsma was rather impressed by. “He stepped up against a team with speed, and he did a great job,” said Bylsma. Although he’s been putting forth visible effort, Despres knows he doesn’t have a secure spot with the team yet. “There’s no relaxing,” said Despres. “There’s no guarantee that I’ll be in the lineup. I have to prove it everyday and everygame. I have to be solid.” This 22-year-old hasn’t made a name for himself in the NHL just yet, but then again, he’s 22. He has time, and time will serve him well as long as he shows consistency, effort and focus. With injury on top of injury for the Penguins, there is no better time to shine and earn your place on the team. Photo Credit: Jared Wickerham/Getty Images  
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