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12-22-2012, 01:24 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2002
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Originally Posted by JTG View Post
Hard to say as I haven't seen much of any of them.

Fairly uneducated gut feeling right now? Despres.

That's my feeling as well; although I should state that while I have seen a lot of Despres and Maatta, I have only seen a little of Dumoulin -- so I am basing my opinion on the latter mostly by intuition, his accomplishments, and his reputation, etc.

While I am an absolute die-hard Penguins fan, and a glass half-full guy in general, I know and take pride in the fact that I have always evaluate their prospects with a very high degree of unbiased realism.

While I have very high hopes for a lot of the Pens D prospects, I have some reservations about many of them, and Despres is probaby at the top of my list. And it's not because I don't think he'll be an NHLer, because he clearly will be. But at this point (and at no other previously) have I viewed him to be a legit top-2 Dman, and I hope I am wrong. I have not seen many WBS games this year, but I am disappointed (though not entirely surprised) to her Simon has not fared very well.

The truth is, there is a chance he may not be anything more than an inconsistent bottom pairing guy, at least for the first few years of his career. He is the kind of guy who could break out in his late 20's, which is very common for Dmen historically. However, by then, he may have been outplayed by some of our youngers who are better and/or more consistent at a younger age.

If pushed now to state where he ends up, I would say this: I think he could have an "Orpik" type of impact, in the sense that he is more offensive (whereas Brooks is more physical), but that they are not legit top-pairing shutdown guys, but rather players that could complement a true #1 (ie. Letang, Gonchar). Now of course, he could end up being better than that, or even not as good, but that's my best guess if asked right now, and I also think he would benefit from at least a full 2 years (if not 3) in WBS, if he doesn't get traded.

On the other hand, while none of our D-prospects are an "absolute sure-thing" (besides Harrington, who is as sure a thing as they come), I just feel that Maatta and Dumoulin have higher potential overall and can fill a similar role (big bodied, two-way Dmen). Pouliot and Morrow have unique skill sets, and I think Niskanen is going to continue to keep getting better and more valuable. I'll predict how I think things will shake out in the top-6 depth chart:

(Depth Chart within the next 1 or two years. One of Martin/Orpik will be moved, and I'll use Martin in this example)

(Despres will be in the mix if he doesn't get traded)

Depth Chart in 4-5 years:

(with Maatta and Pouliot knocking on the door to ultimately slot into that Niskanen/Despres for the 3rd pairing)

Or something like that. But it's my best guess that the guys who will be moved in the next year or so, barring injury to one of our top Dmen or prospects will be: Despres, Strait, Lovejoy. We may get little or a mid-rounder for Lovejoy; I think we can get a 2nd/3rd pick or decent 2nd/3rd line winger for Strait; and possibly a really good return for Despres...but that depends on his play this season in WBS)

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