By: Chris Gates

PITTSBURGH (93-7 The FAN) — The Pittsburgh Penguins will reportedly call up top defense prospect Simon Despres from the team’s American Hockey League affiliate Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

He is expected to be called up at some point today and the Penguins will send Alexandre Picard back down to the AHL. Picard was recalled for Tuesday’s game in New York.

Despres is expected to make his NHL debut tonight at Washington. He has played 22 games in the AHL this season, registering three goals and four assists.

Despres has been labeled by many as the team’s top defense prospect. He was a first-round draft choice by Pittsburgh and GM Ray Shero in 2009.

The Penguins have an immediate need for defensemen, as both Kris Letang and Zbynek Michalek are dealing with nagging injuries.

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