Will Despres Play Again?

Photo: Chris Shulman @CoyoteDucks54

By Michael Walters

Yesterday the Anaheim Ducks General Manager Bob Murray announced that the team parted ways with Simon Despres. The team will buy out Despres’ contract after he cleared waivers today and the timing couldn’t have been better for the organization since he is still 25 years old. The NHL allows teams to buy out players under 26 years of age at one-third of the remaining amount. If Despres was 26 years old, then the Ducks would have had to pay two-thirds of his remaining salary. The team will have to pay one-third($5.3 million) of his salary instead of two-thirds($10.6 million).

According to capfriendly.com, instead of a $3.7-million salary cap hit, the Ducks will be charged with a $1,262,500 hit in 2017-18. The move will also have two years (2018-19 and 2019-20) in which Anaheim will get a cap credit of -$337,500 for the buyout. Here is the break down over the next eight seasons:

Injured players are normally not eligible for buyouts, but it appears the NHL and NHLPA reached an agreement to allow the Ducks to do so with Despres per the OC Register. The league and the Players’ Association were able to determine a buyout could be allowed based on rules found in the collective bargaining agreement(CBA).

Bob Murray released a statement yesterday about the Despres buyout:

“Simon Despres is a good hockey player and a good person. But, at this point in time, we feel it is in the best interests of both Simon and the organization to part ways. We wish him the very best in the future.”

Simon Despres issued a statement via his Twitter account:

Despres played in the Ducks opening game against Dallas this past season, but never returned after that. He still experienced concussion symptoms like headaches and dizziness. The symptoms stem from an illegal high hit by Colorado’s Tyson Barrie on October 16th, 2015. Despres did later return to play that season but was injured again in March 2016. He did return again to play the final five games of the season and the 2016 first round series against Nashville.

Will Despres Play Again?

Despres was seen at Honda Center during some of the home games this past season. He also skated with the team during practices before the playoffs. The team evaluated him, but he wasn’t ready to come back during the playoffs. Despres told spectators at practice that he was working hard in hopes of playing for the Ducks in the 2017-18 season. It’s not clear if he will be deemed healthy enough to play next season by the NHL. One thing is certain, he won’t be playing for the Anaheim Ducks if he is able to return.

What’s Next For Anaheim?

With the savings Anaheim will gain from the Despres buyout, the Ducks will have more cap space to either sign a contract extension for Cam Fowler and/or possibly sign Patrick Eaves. The Ducks have been talking to both players. Fowler has expressed interest in a long-term deal and Eaves also showed a desire to stay in Anaheim.

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June 17th, 2017