#10 PROSPECT (winter 2012): DILLON SIMPSON

Dillon Simpson has played in the NCAA for 2+ seasons, 80+ games and hundreds of sorties in a league that features men in their early to mid-20s. Simpson has been doing this for 2+ years, and won’t turn 20 until a little before Valentine’s Day.

I’ve seen Dillon Simpson exactly one time since he was drafted, and came away thinking the scouting reports nicked him a little on the skating.

  • Dillon Simpson made the simple play, didn’t seem to get caught out of position much and looked good passing the puck. He did take a big hit early on; I think he’s faster than we’ve been lead to believe but it’s one game.

Summer 2012: #14

Winter 2012: #10

Pre-draft

ISS #122; Redline 74

  • Redline: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. 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.
  • 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.”
  • ISS: Simpson is an all-around effective and smart defenseman who contributes in both ends of the ice while competing at a high level. He shows flashes of offensive productivity and potential. He has very good stride and at times when he is moving he almost looks like he isn’t working that hard, but with closer scrutiny, you realize he is actually a very effortless skater, with a very natural and efficient stride. He has very good range defensively, taking away time and space very efficiently. He always seems to maintain solid defensive positioning. Father Craig played 10 years in the NHL with Pittsburgh, Edmonton and Buffalo, and won two Stanley Cups with the Oilers.
  • Luedeke: A bit of a disappointing season for a player scouts had some real high hopes for coming in. The son of former NHL forward and HNIC analyst Craig Simpson (and nephew of television reporter Christine Simpson) has decent size at 6-1, 195. He scored 2 goals and 10 points in 30 games as a freshman and wasn’t overly involved in the offensive scheme/didn’t get a lot of ice time. He’s a work in progress who has some soft hands and hockey sense, but isn’t a great skater. He’s slow out of the blocks and needs to work on his stride to get the most out of his movement. Scouts see intriguing elements of his game, but after 12 goals and 41 points last year with Spruce Grove of the AJHL, more of an impact was expected from him- he did not deliver. This is not to say Simpson isn’t a legitimate NHL prospect- he is. He grew up around the game and has the natural athleticism to be a player, but this season showed that it is going to take time and he’d require a leap of faith for a team to draft him in the first two rounds.

I really like the Luedeke description above, it gives you a feel for how difficult it must have been for a 17-year old in the WCHA. The season Simpson debuted in the NCAA, there were only 5 seventeen year olds in the entire WCHA–Simpson, Nick Shore, Josh Thorimbert, Michael Mersch and Frankie Simonelli. I think the skating issue might be at least a little about playing against older men–certainly when I saw Simpson against kids his own age the skating element was not at all pronounced (please keep in mind this is a fan talking).

Here’s a look at Simpson’s progression:

  • 2010-11 UND (17): 30, 2-8-10 +11 (on a team that was +56 evens)
  • 2011-12 UND (18): 42, 2-16-18 +10 (on a team that was +19 evens)
  • 2012-13 UND (19): 13, 1-4-5 +2 (on a team that is +3 evens)

Simpson is getting PP time (he’s 1-2-3 this season, accounting for most of his offense), and appears to be paired with any numbers of blue: Joe Gleason, Nick Mattson, Andrew Panzarella–pretty much everyone but Derek Forbort. Forbort is -3 and I would assume he is playing the tough opposition and suspect Jordan Schmaltz (another first rounder) may be his partner on defense.

If I’m right on this, Dillon Simpson is the veteran on the 2nd pairing behind the Forbort-Schmaltz tandem. Even though it’s year three, there’s some really good arrows here.

 

#10 ranked prospects on December lists:
  • December 2004: D Roman Tesliuk
  • December 2005: L Dragan Umicevic
  • December 2006: D Taylor Chorney
  • December 2007: D Jeff Petry
  • December 2008: L Linus Omark
  • December 2009: C Anton Lander
  • December 2010: D Alex Plante
  • December 2011: D David Musil
  • December 2012: D Dillon Simpson

I’m going to go ahead and suggest that Simpson hurt his draft number in 2010-11 by playing in the NCAA. The skating issue looked more pronounced against older players and he didn’t get the PP push he’d enjoyed in Spruce Grove. The bet here is that Simpson has earned the right to be mentioned in the same breath as Musil and Gernat–behind Schultz, Klefbom and Marincin but well ahead of the other blue in the Oiler system.

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24 Responses to "#10 PROSPECT (winter 2012): DILLON SIMPSON"

  1. Zack says:

    Didn’t really see Simpson this high on the prospect list. It’s good to have a plethora of D-man though.

  2. jonrmcleod says:

    I’m waiting to see where you put Joey LaLeggia. Was he ranked last time?

  3. Professor Q says:

    Seems like all of the scouts couldn’t decide on a similar description of him.

  4. Lowetide says:

    I think the skating bit was just a matter of seeing a 17-year old alongside 22 and 24 year olds. After that, there is some disconnect in style–including suggestions he wouldn’t be much of a puck mover–but he’s on the PP at UND so must have some ability.

  5. spoiler says:

    Stunning. The anti-Petry.

    I was hoping this was going to be the first top 10 ever where I was in complete agreement, but it was not to be.

    I have never forgiven his dad for taking Coffey from us, for the horrible powerplay as a coach, or for hogging all the hair gel.

  6. OilTastic says:

    ^ya, Craig was pretty bad as a coach wasn’t he? not overly thrilled about Dillon, there are others like Musil, Klefbom and Marincin that i’m more thrilled about than him, and we do seem to have an abundance of bottom pairing prospect d-men in our system.

  7. Lowetide says:

    I started paying attention to him later on in the 11-12 season and he was a pretty big part of the team from what we can read. The problem with defensemen is that injuries can knock them out, but Simpson has some dimension to his game and the skating issue may not be the canyon it sounded like on draft day.

  8. OilTastic says:

    ^i won’t deny though that it’s nice to finally have not only some good defensive depth in our system, but some overall depth.

  9. Bar_Qu says:

    My view over the last few years if that you don’t necessarily need a Pronger or Weber on your D if you have two to three strong pairings that complement each others’ strengths. And the Oilers are putting together a bunch of very capable prospects who fit that concept. If a third of these guys play out, the D is set for the foreseeable future, not to mention how well it well set them for trading at the deadline (they want to overpay for our #3 guy? Sure, we can have someone step in to cover.)

    All of these guys are a couple of years off, but with this season all but canceled, there is time to let them all develop at their own pace.

    I think Simpson should stay where he is, finish his four years and then come in as an experienced, mature 22 year old D to fight his way up from the A. And i hope he avoid the curse of Igor & his shoulders stay intact.

  10. RexLibris says:

    I know this is pie-in-the-sky stuff here, but how nice would it be to go to a game four years from now and see David Musil, Dillon Simpson, and (by trade, I guess), Keegan Lowe all in the lineup together?

    I was wondering how Simpson was coming along. I’m not as worried about the skating as the reports seem to be. The apple doesn’t fall that far from the tree, and Serdachny has worked well with other Oiler prospects in the past.

  11. Lowetide says:

    rex: Exactly. You can’t bet the house on any defenseman, but the Oilers have some nice things going on at the position. Also, I’m deliberately staying away from this (plan to do a post as part of draft prep 2013) but Simpson follows perfectly in the “big brain” category the Oilers have mined for years now.

    I think he’s got a real chance.

  12. jfry says:

    OT (as i’ve never seen simpson other than on a garbage feed)…

    are we getting concerned the Nuge’s inability to produce points at 5on5 yet? i know he’s young, but having watched most of the games this year (in feedovision), he’s not getting much done at EVs especially considering his line mates and apparent TOI push.

    Also, can couturier play in the WJC this year?

  13. Lowetide says:

    Jfry: No, I’m not concerned. The only concern I have is that people may expect him to push the river before he’s ready. That’s why (imo) Hall is such a special player. Nuge is a PP savant and is on the job training at evens. Joe Sakic had a learning curve too.

  14. jfry says:

    i guess it’s just the contrast of him vs hall that skews things.

  15. Lowetide says:

    It’s not just Nuge, though. All these kids will take time. Eberle too. There’s nothing unusual about it, the NHL is a tough bloody league. Nuge losing a battle to, say, Iginla, shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. Or the Sedins. Or any number of guys aged 25+.

  16. DSF says:

    Lowetide:
    Jfry: No, I’m not concerned. The only concern I have is that people may expect him to push the river before he’s ready. That’s why (imo) Hall is such a special player. Nuge is a PP savant and is on the job training at evens. Joe Sakic had a learning curve too.

    Joe Sakic scored 31 even strength goals in his second NHL season.

    It appears his learning curve was pretty short.

  17. Lowetide says:

    DSF: Joe Sakic scored 31 even strength goals in his second NHL season.

    It appears his learning curve was pretty short.

    you bet, these impact guys don’t fool around.

    Sakic at 19: 13 even strength goals in 70 games in an offensive era
    RNH at 18: 15 even strength goals in 62 games in a less offensive era

    Now, we can’t compare the Nuge’s 19 year old season to Sakic’s because the NHL is dark. I suspect Ryan Nugent-Hopkins will show some impressive things before he’s through.

  18. voxwah says:

    Lowetide: you bet, these impact guys don’t fool around.

    Sakic at 19: 13 even strength goals in 70 games in an offensive era
    RNH at 18: 15 even strength goals in 62 games in a less offensive era

    Now, we can’t compare the Nuge’s 19 year old season to Sakic’s because the NHL is dark. I suspect Ryan Nugent-Hopkins will show some impressive things before he’s through.

    C’mon LT the Nuge obviously sucks. Everything about him is unsustainable. We should just trade him for Kyle Wellwood now. Its the smart thing to do.

  19. jp says:

    Sakic got to scoring goals in a hurry, but there was still lots of learning to do. He was -102 in his first 3 seasons. Granted, those were some historically bad teams he played on, but he was still worst, 2nd worst and worst among Nordiques forwards those 3 years. The young Joe Sakic was not the same player we remember later in his career.

  20. OilClog says:

    Lowetide:

    So what just happened…

    LT went and flipped the stats right back on DSF with a giant BOOYA!

    Sorry DSF that none of the Wild or Canuck prospects stack up to the Nuge.. I mean I guess you have a point, the Nuge.. he’s no Sakic yet! it’s remarkable though how similiar their shots are.. must just be a coincidence.

  21. Lois Lowe says:

    We do need to trade Nuge while his value is still high. I wonder if we could get a top 2 dman like Suter for him?

  22. spoiler says:

    Lowetide: you bet, these impact guys don’t fool around.

    Sakic at 19: 13 even strength goals in 70 games in an offensive era
    RNH at 18: 15 even strength goals in 62 games in a less offensive era

    Now, we can’t compare the Nuge’s 19 year old season to Sakic’s because the NHL is dark. I suspect Ryan Nugent-Hopkins will show some impressive things before he’s through.

    jp:
    Sakic got to scoring goals in a hurry, but there was still lots of learning to do. He was -102 in his first 3 seasons. Granted, those were some historically bad teams he played on, but he was still worst, 2nd worst and worst among Nordiques forwards those 3 years. The young Joe Sakic was not the same player we remember later in his career.

    D. S. F. totally pwned* by LT n JP.

    :p

    *I have no idea what this means

  23. BlacqueJacque says:

    Pleasant surprise to see him so high on the list.

    Given that defencemen, and Oiler defencemen in particular, go down like flies during the season…

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