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The Official Site of the New York Islanders

Meet the Prospects, Vol. 2

by Staff Writer / New York Islanders will take a look at the top 30 prospects for the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, as ranked by NHL Central Scouting. We will look at the top 15 North American skaters and the top 15 European skaters, in alphabetical order.


Pos: Defenseman        Shoots: Left
Height: 6’4’’                   Weight: 205
Born: July 27, 1991 in Laval, QC, Canada
Current Team: Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL)
Final NHL Central Scouting Ranking: #8 North American Skater

Simon Despres
Despres has played in 130 career QMJHL games, scoring three goals and adding 43 assists for 46 points in two seasons with Saint John. He has also appeared in 14 playoff games with the Sea Dogs, recording four assists and 18 penalty minutes.

In 2008-09, Despres led Saint John with a +16 rating. He also paced all Sea Dogs defensemen with 32 points (2-30-32) in 66 games. Despres skated in the 2009 CHL Top Prospects game and represented the QMJHL in the Canada/Russia Challenge for the second straight season.

As a 16-year-old rookie, Despres compiled 14 points (1-13-14) and a +18 rating for Saint John after being selected first overall in the 2007 QMJHL Draft. He posted a career-high five assists on Jan. 18, 2008, and was named to the QMJHL All-Rookie Team.

Despres served as an assistant captain for Team Canada at the 2009 Under-18 World Championships in North Dakota, earning two assists in the tournament. He also was a member of Canada’s gold-medal winning team at the 2008 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament.

“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.”
-NHL Central Scouting’s Chris Bordeleau

“Simon is a very good skater with and without the puck. He has good hands for a big man and he has outstanding vision as well as hockey sense. To make it to the next level he will need to improve his upper-body strength and his shot, but overall Simon is an outstanding person on and off the ice. He loves the game. He is without a doubt an NHL prospect…I think he’s the best defenseman that I’ve ever had. I think he’s a more complete package than any of the defensemen I’ve ever coached in the past.”
-Saint John Sea Dogs Head Coach Jacques Beaulieu

“His skating stride is smooth and effortless, reminiscent of the player Despres admires most in the National Hockey League, Anaheim Ducks defenceman Scott Niedermayer. His stickhandling and agility give him a rare level of confidence and poise with the puck, and he has a shot that is both powerful and accurate.”
-Montreal Gazette


Pos: Center              Shoots: Left
Height: 5’11’’           Weight: 200
Born: January 16, 1991 in Haliburton, ON, Canada
Current Team: Brampton Battalion (OHL)
Final NHL Central Scouting Ranking: #2 North American Skater

Matt Duchene
Duchene has played in 121 career OHL games, compiling 61 goals and 68 assists for 129 points in two seasons with Brampton. He has also appeared in 26 playoff games with the Battalion, notching 15 goals and 13 assists for 28 points.

In 2008-09, Duchene finished third on Brampton with 79 points (31-48-79) in 59 games. He was voted the Best Playmaker and Best Stickhandler in the OHL Eastern Conference Coaches Poll. Duchene also led the OHL with six game-winning goals in the playoffs as Brampton made the OHL Finals. He finished sixth in the league with 26 playoff points (14-12-26) and tied for first with six playoff power-play goals.

Duchene’s season was highlighted by appearances at the 2009 OHL All-Star Classic and the CHL Top Prospects Game. He also won three gold medals during an eight-month span in 2008 (Under-18 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament, Under-18 World Championships, World Under-17 Challenge with Team Ontario). Duchene served as captain for Team Canada at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament to help his home country to its fourth gold in the last five years.

Duchene’s father, Vince, played goalie for Ontario juvenile champion Minden Monarchs in 1984-85. His uncle is Anaheim Ducks Assistant Coach Newell Brown.

“Matt Duchene is a pure offensive player who also is a great penalty killer. He helps the Brampton Battalion in all facets of the game. A pure sniper, he plays the point on the power play and is a threat to score on the penalty kill, as well. He reminds me, probably most of the new breed of snipers, Patrick Kane, Sam Gagner and Steven Stamkos as he grows into his offensive position in the NHL.”
-Director of NHL Central Scouting E.J. McGuire

“Duchene has the ability to dominate a game. He is an excellent all-around skater with great speed. His playmaking, ability to see the ice and move the puck through traffic to create offense are outstanding. He has a very good shot, but I see his best asset as his speed and ability to beat defensemen to the middle or outside.”
-NHL Central Scouting’s Chris Edwards

“The best prospect available in this draft might possibly be the soft-spoken Duchene. While his numbers aren't gaudy (a point a game over his two OHL seasons) they don't tell the entire story. Duchene is a marvelous two-way talent who has played second (and at times even third) fiddle in Brampton to Vancouver first-rounder Cody Hodgson and Rangers' selection Evgeny Grachev, two of the O's most exciting players. Throw in the fact the Battalion under head coach/GM Stan Butler have never been known to play a wide-open, firebrand style of game and you can understand our point. Duchene, in another team's system, could have put up eye-popping stats.”
-Red Line Report

“He’s really matured as a player. He’s not just an offensive player; he’s a two-way guy that you can count on in all situations. If I’m not going on draws on some nights, I’ll switch it over to Matt because I have perfect faith in him that he can win the draws, as well.”
-Brampton teammate and Vancouver Canucks prospect Cody Hodgson

“Has great hands and possesses one the best shots in the OHL, with a very quick release. Was guilty of passing too much and not shooting enough, given the depth of linemates he had. Make no mistake though. This guy is pure high-level sniper.”

Coming Friday, May 29th: Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Tim Erixon

Click here to read Volume 1 — Carter Ashton and Jared Cowen

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