One RFA defenseman down, two to go, as the Anaheim Ducks signed defenseman Simon Despres to a five-year contract extension. After an abnormally slow eight minutes, the financial details were reported by Renaud Lavoie of TVA:
#ducks Simon Després: 5 ans / 18,5M$ total. #tvasports
— Renaud Lavoie (@renlavoietva) October 9, 2015
The average annual value of $3.7 million is incredibly reasonable. According to General Fanager, the only Ducks defenseman earning more than Despres in the years to come (so far) are Cam Fowler and Kevin Bieksa.
Despres was acquired by the Ducks at the trade deadline from Pittsburgh for defenseman Ben Lovejoy. In Pittsburgh, he wasn’t given much of a chance to succeed under Dan Bylsma and later Mike Johnston. He was in the penalty box more than he was scoring goals. Coming to Anaheim gave Despres a chance to start over and show why he was drafted in the first round (30th overall) in 2009.
Paired with Cam Fowler primarily, Despres fit into Bruce Boudreau’s system quite well. He was the part of the pairing that stays back while the more offensive part (ie. Fowler) joins the rush. Despres is not expected to be an offensive defenseman but his numbers went up since coming to Southern California. He had six points in 16 games with Anaheim, in contrast to his 17 points in 59 games with Pittsburgh.
With Despres on the books, Ducks GM Bob Murray turns his attention to the other two RFA D-men: Hampus Lindholm and Sami Vatanen.
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