As we look ahead to the players likely to be available at #11 for Nashville (be sure to vote on our mock draft selection), we'll start with French-Canadian defenseman Simon Despres of Saint John in the QMJHL. This season Simon had 2 goals and 30 assists in 66 games, more than doubling his output of the previous year.
While Nashville fans probably wouldn't be excited to add another blueliner to the depth chart, you never really can have to much talent back there, and one thing the Preds organization has proven is that it can develop such players effectively.
Despres certainly has the size everyone likes to see out of a defenseman - 6' 4", 205 lbs., and he hasn't quite hit is 18th birthday yet. While he doesn't project as an offensive dynamo, he does seem to be able to contribute to the attack after taking care of his own end of the ice. This assessment comes from Chris Bordeleau of NHL Central Scouting:
"I think for a potential pro player, he's got the size and mobility. I've seen him many games, and he never seems to make a bad play. He's never going to get 100 points, but definitely, when you want a guy to play defense, he's your guy. He does it all, he'll block shots and he moves the puck at the right time."
Kyle at Illegal Curve had the following to say about Depres:
Big mobile defender who took the lion’s share of the ice time for Canada [at the World Juniors, where he was an assistant captain]. Uses his reach effectively and is tough to get around. Would have liked to see him get some PP time, as I think he passes well.
The Telegraph-Journal had this to say earlier this year:
Working on his hitting is one of the next steps Despres needs to take in his development, said one NHL scout who attended the propects game.
"We'd like to see a little more physical (play) from him, especially when it comes to finishing his check in the last three or four feet," the scout said. "Let people know that they're going to be punished. When Dion Phaneuf is finishing his check or Zdeno Chara finishes his check, he finishes his check. The quality guys finish their check the last three or four feet."
While Despres' combination of skating and size have vaulted him up the scouting lists, the scout would also like to see him work on his shot.
Here's his video profile from NHL.com: