As time allows over the summer, I’ll have a look at some of the kids who were taken outside the first two rounds of the 2011 draft. I began this series with an item on Tobias Rieder and this is the second installment.
Dillon Simpson was selected in the 4th round of the 2011 entry draft by the Edmonton Oilers. 92nd overall and the area around it have been good for the Oilers over the years, with men like Walt Poddubny, Peter White, Shawn Horcoff, Mike Comrie and Zack Stortini all outperforming their draft number and having NHL careers. Chris VandeVelde, Linus Omark and Jeremie Blain are recent draft selections tracking well.
Pre-draft slotting had Simpson as either a mid third round pick (Redline) or an early 5th rounder (ISS), but he came in as the first pick in the fourth round, 92nd overall. Players taken in the fourth round who may have better careers include Joachim Nermark, Michael St. Croix, Colin Jacobs, Kale Kessy and Tobias Rieder.
- Red Line Report scout Max Giese: “He’s a smart player defensively, rarely out of position; but he’s a pretty bad skater and he doesn’t have any poise moving the puck. He’s a slushy skater with a short and sluggish stride. His hands are stiff, he struggles to put passes on the tape and he always hurries to get the puck off of his stick. He’s getting the ice time right now because of North Dakota’s injuries.”
- Redline Report: Stay at home defencemen with savvy and size. Son of former longtime NHL’er Craig Simpson has very good hockey sense and understands game situations instinctively. Had trouble getting qualilty icetime as a 17-year-old true freshman on deep, veteran defence corps of top collegiate program, but did show steady progress adjusting to the pace of play against older, stronger opponents. Rarely saw the ice on either special teams units.
- More Redline: Sluggish skater with a short stride, but shows good gap control and lateral mobility. Tentative to do anything offensively and always has one foot back on defence. Doesn’t see the ice well and hurries to get the puck off his stick. Makes sharp defensive reads and is rarely out of position. Struggled 1-on-1 in the corners and down log against more physically developed forwards.
The back story on Simpson (his father is Craig Simpson) is impossible to ignore and may or may not be an issue moving forward in his career. Because the son is not the father’s player-type, I think Dillon Simpson should be able to find his own way in the organization he grew up cheering for as a kid.
Simpson’s contribution to an NHL team (should he make the grade) will be in the defensive zone without the puck. His Desjardins NHLE (82gp, 2-9-11) implies a stay-at-home type, although as a 17-year old playing NCAA hockey the age difference can be massive (for instance, Simpson played with 24-year old defender Jake Marto this past season. Jake Marto is 6 months younger than Ladislav Smid) and we shouldn’t be terribly surprised if he shows improvement this coming season.
Simpson–like his Dad–appears to be comfortable with the media and in many ways was well prepared for the role of pro hockey player. Hockey people have been aware of him for some time now. If Simpson weren’t so famous as a prospect, I would suggest he was a “draft and follow” player, but his bloodlines and resume suggest a more substantial player.
I know that this blog has been a gushing testament to the brilliance of Stu MacGregor and I’m aware that it doesn’t sit right with many. It seems to me that in some circles of the Al Gore the only way to be “credible” is to be “negative” which runs counter to logic and reason but then again the internet highway is a collective so expecting consistency is a crazy notion.
Still, I’ve always felt that you need a good reason to change your mind and there isn’t one available when it comes to the drafting done by the Oilers since the Magnificent Bastard took over the head job. The one thing we can agree on is that the report card is years away for MBS, with even the 2008 draft (his first one as director) a couple of winters from coming into view. Still, the evidence we do have is extremely positive.
Stu MacGregor trusts his list, and in selecting Dillon Simpson in the 4th round he remained true to his philosophy by taking a player who:
- has a nice range of skills.
- displays intelligence.
- has an aggressive style.
- was taken by the Oilers in a slot that would not be considered a reach selection.
The odds of Edmonton taking a player who will play 200+ games on day two of the 2011 entry draft are good. Edmonton has several kids from the Prendergast era who have either made that grade or are on track:
- Jarret Stoll (2002) 515 NHL games
- Matt Greene (2002) 379 NHL games
- JF Jacques (2003) 160 NHL games
- Zack Stortini (2003) 256 NHL games
- Kyle Brodziak (2003) 337 NHL games
- Liam Reddox (2004) 100 NHL games
- Jeff Petry (2006) 35 NHL games
- Theo Peckham (2006) 102 NHL games
- Linus Omark (2007) 51 NHL games
Candidates for this list on the MacGregor watch include 2008 selection Teemu Hartikainen (12 NHL games), 2009 selection Anton Lander, 2010 pickups Martin Marincin, Curtis Hamilton and Tyler Bunz and I would suggest David Musil from this most recent draft.
If I were to choose a player (aside from Musil) as the strongest candidate among day 2 selections in 2011 to clear 200 games it would be Tobias Rieder. Others that I might have ahead of Simpson are goaltender Samu Perhonen and defenseman Martin Gernak. That’s my way of saying he’s a long shot based on scouting report, where he was selected and his on ice performance with North Dakota. The good arrows include bloodlines, his ability to survive NCAA hockey at such a young age, intelligence and the fact that he comes from a family familiar with the pressures and rigors of a pro career.
Perhaps more than any other day 2 pick from this most recent draft, we’ll know a helluva lot more about Dillon Simpson this time next season.