At the recent NHL trade deadline, the Penguins made two trades, both involving defenseman. The first trade they made was dealing Robert Bortuzzo and a draft pick to the Blues for defenseman Ian Cole. I can understand trading Bortuzzo, as the Penguins are wealthy in defensive prospects and don’t have a clear place for him. But the other trade they made, Simon Depres to Anaheim for Ben Lovejoy, wasn’t as good.
Simon Depres has been for the past couple years a guy that is a healthy scratch at times and is sent down to the AHL. This season, he broke out of his shell. While playing the majority of the season, he has played exceptionally. Controlling the puck, generating offense, completing stretch passes. You name it, Depres has probably done a whole lot better job with it than he has in previous seasons. His improvement this year has helped shore up the final defensive pairing. So why was he traded?
Jim Rutherford has done a mostly good job so far in his tenure as Penguins’ general manager. He has made a good bit of trades that have turned out well. This was one trade that was not as good.
In 60 games this season, Depres has two goals and 18 points with a plus/minus of plus-12. Those are solid stats for a guy mostly playing on a pairing with Rob Scuderi, who wouldn’t exactly be considered an offensive defenseman. By comparison, Lovejoy has 11 points in 40 games with the Ducks, and has only a plus-four in the plus/minus category. Lovejoy is clearly a downgrade from Depres. Simon Depres will be a solid defenseman in the years to come. Hopefully, Lovejoy will be the same.