The 22-year-old Despres appeared in a career-high 22 games for the Penguins last season, finishing with five assists. He scored six goals and added 16 assists in 36 games with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League. His plus/minus ratio of plus-19 led the team.
Despres struggled to stay in the lineup under former Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma, but will have a chance to play regularly after the team lost veteran defencemen Brooks Orpik and Matt Niskanen in free agency.
Life's about opportunity and how you respond to that opportunity, and obviously he must have some swagger about him, some confidence about him, because he was solid. He made some good saves. He was 6-foot-3 on every shot, which is a good thing for a goalie. He played well. We got a win.
— Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock on rookie goaltender Garret Sparks, who made 24 saves in his first NHL start, a 3-0 win vs. Oilers
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