The Anaheim Ducks have only had defenseman Simon Despres appear in their lineup for a collective 49 games over the last three seasons, as the blue liner has dealt with a myriad of health issues over the years.
Sure enough, he’s out once again.
After just one game played in the 2016-17 regular season, the 25-year-old Despres – a former first round pick of the Pittsburgh Penguins from the 2009 NHL Entry Draft – was sidelined with yet another upper body injury. Now, per TSN’s Bob McKenzie, he’s been placed on long-term injured reserve by the Ducks, meaning they don’t expect him back any time soon.
The move to long-term injured reserve will clear up the defenseman’s cap space, which amounts to $3.7 million per season (which potentially allows the team to sign defenseman Hampus Lindholm, who has been sitting out the start of the year with stalled extension negotiations and limited cap space for the Pacific Division club).
A native 0f Laval, Quebec, Despres was a standout defenseman for the QMJHL’s Saint John Sea Dogs during his major junior career. He’s struggled to remain healthy since going pro, though, dealing with multiple concussion issues and other various maladies during his time split between the Penguins and the Ducks.
When he’s able to play, the Ducks likely have a solid depth defenseman in the young blue liner. Given that the club has an almost surplus of blue line talent, though, he may not be someone they try to keep around much longer – especially with his struggles to remain in the lineup.
The Ducks have started out their 2016-17 season going 1-3-1 to fall to fifth in the Pacific Division. They’ll next face the Vancouver Canucks this evening at 7:00 PM PST.