Anaheim Ducks waive promising defenseman Simon Despres, likely to buy out contract

By The Sports Xchange   |   June 16, 2017 at 10:16 PM
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The Anaheim Ducks placed defenseman Simon Despres on waivers for the purpose of buying out his contract on Friday.

Despres, 25, had four more seasons remaining on his five-year, $18.5 million contract, but his history of concussions has put his one-promising career in jeopardy.

"Simon Despres is a good hockey player and a good person," Ducks general manager Bob Murray said in a statement. "But, at this point in time, we feel it is in the best interests of both Simon and the organization to part ways. We wish him the very best in the future."

Despres was acquired from the Pittsburgh Penguins in March 2015 for fellow defenseman Ben Lovejoy and signed a five-year extension seven months later. Despres, however, sustained a concussion on a hit from Colorado Avalanche blue-liner Tyson Barrie just four games into the 2015-16 season and missed the next 42 contests.

He took another blow to the head in March 2016, and later admitted he played through concussion symptoms in that season's playoffs.

Despres skated in the 2016-17 season opener against the Dallas Stars, but did not play again.

Despres has recorded 43 points (six points, 37 assists) with a plus-31 rating and 150 penalty minutes in 193 career NHL games with the Ducks and Penguins.

Selected by Pittsburgh in the first round (30th overall) of the 2009 NHL draft, Despres combined for three goals and 20 assists with a plus-11 rating and 86 penalty minutes in 75 games with the Ducks and Penguins in 2014-15. The 6-foot-4, 218-pound defenseman set career highs in all major offensive categories, including goals, assists, points, plus/minus and games played.

A native of Laval, Quebec, Despres won silver with Team Canada at the 2011 World Junior Championship after picking up three assists in seven tournament games. He played four QMJHL seasons with Saint John from 2007-11, collecting 134 points (25 goals, 109 assists) and 245 penalty minutes.

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