Simon Despres returns to Ducks after missing 42 games

Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman cautions fans to not read too far into the numbers that Tampa Bay has offered Steven Stamkos, stating that it's a starting point for the team and that it likely is far from being the last number provided.

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Defenceman Simon Despres has returned to the Anaheim Ducks after missing 42 games with a concussion.

The Ducks recalled Despres on Monday from his long-term injury conditioning loan to their AHL affiliate in San Diego.

Despres hasn’t played since Oct. 16, when he left the Ducks’ fourth game of the season after a shoulder-to-head hit from Tyson Barrie. The Colorado defenceman was suspended three games for his actions.

Despres will be available to play Tuesday night when the Ducks wrap up their East Coast road trip in Boston, coach Bruce Boudreau said.

Despres was injured one week after agreeing to a four-year, $18.5 million contract extension that underlined his remarkable rise with the Ducks.

Anaheim acquired the defenceman in a trade with Pittsburgh on March 2, and he cemented a permanent lineup spot in just 16 regular-season games. Despres added seven points and steady two-way post-season play during the Ducks' run to Game 7 of the Western Conference finals.

After a terrible start to this season, the Ducks are an impressive 9-3-1 since the Christmas break. Anaheim (21-18-7) is back in playoff contention despite scoring the NHL's fewest goals by a wide margin.

Defenceman Cam Fowler also has missed 12 games since Dec. 27 with a sprained knee. The Ducks' ice-time leader returned to workouts with his teammates last week.

Josh Manson has seized the chance for playing time in Despres' absence, getting two goals and two assists in 36 solid games for Anaheim.