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Pens' prospect Despres could make NHL debut

by Dan Rosen / NHL.com
WASHINGTON -- Injuries to defensemen Kris Letang and Zbynek Michalek have opened the door for former Penguins' No. 1 draft pick Simon Despres to potentially make his NHL debut Thursday night against the Capitals here at Verizon Center.

Despres, the No. 30 pick in 2009, was recalled from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Thursday, and since Alexandre Picard was sent down, the Penguins still have only six defensemen here to play. The Penguins have not taken their morning skate yet so there is no confirmation on the lineup, but unless coach Dan Bylsma wants to dress only five blueliners (not likely), Despres will be in the lineup.

Despres, 20, has 3 goals and 4 assists along with a plus-3 rating in 22 games as a rookie this season for WBS. All three of his goals were game-winning goals and his 7 points are tied for the team lead among defensemen.

Here are the forward lines for the Penguins at the team's morning skate.

Chris Kunitz - Sidney Crosby - Pascal Dupuis
Steve Sullivan - Evgeni Malkin - James Neal
Matt Cooke - Jordan Staal - Tyler Kennedy
Arron Asham - Richard Park - Craig Adams

Coach Dan Bylsma rotated the defense pairings throughout the skate.

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl


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