OILERS NO. 18 PROSPECT: DILLON SIMPSON

Dillon Simpson was drafted the same weekend as Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and that means this season is No. 5 after draft. This blog has long held the position that you have to wait five years after a draft to properly assess it. In the case of Dillon Simpson, it is fair to say we are still compiling data.

simpson9

PREVIOUSLY NO. 18 ON THE WINTER LIST

  • December 2004: L Jani Rita (36) (GM: Glen Sather)
  • December 2005: G Jeff Deslauriers (62) (GM: Kevin Lowe)
  • December 2006: D Mathieu Roy (66) (GM: Kevin Lowe)
  • December 2007: C Chris VandeVelde (152) (GM: Kevin Lowe)
  • December 2008: L Teemu Hartikainen (52) (GM: Kevin Lowe)
  • December 2009: R Colin McDonald (145) (GM: Kevin Lowe)
  • December 2010: D Brandon Davidson (35) (GM: Steve Tambellini)
  • December 2011: L Phil Cornet (2) (GM: Kevin Lowe)
  • December 2012: D Taylor Fedun (11) (via free agency, GM Steve Tambellini)
  • December 2013: L Luke Gazdic (130) (via waivers, GM Steve Tambellini)
  • December 2014: L Mitchell Moroz (0) (GM: Steve Tambellini)

Interesting that two of the three men who made it to 100 NHL games are from the college ranks, like Simpson. Slow developing college men drafted by the Oilers often end up playing for other NHL teams, and you can probably accuse the organization of a lack of patience—but let’s remember we are talking depth players at best. Brandon Davidson should be a lock to pass 100 games and eventually rank as the best player on this list.

simpson capture

WHAT THEY SAID ON DRAFT DAY

  • 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.”
  • Kirk 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.

simpson ferguson 1415

PREVIOUSLY ON THE TOP 20

  • Summer 2011: 24
  • Winter 2011: 17
  • Summer 2012: 14
  • Winter 2012: 10
  • Summer 2013: 10f
  • Winter 2013: 8
  • Summer 2014: 7
  • Winter 2014: 8
  • Summer 2015: 13
  • Winter 2015: 18

Simpson is among a large group of defensemen being overrun by the sheer volume of selections dedictated to the position from 2011 to this summer. In those drafts, 13 of 38 (34%) of the markers were spent on blue, and the team has been aggressive via trade and free agency to address defense. Among the top 20 players I have discussed to this point, nine (of 18) are defensemen. I imagine Peter Chiarelli will cull the herd this summer.

todd simpson young stars

15-16

  • Lowetide blog: In an Oilers prospect universe that includes insane talents, it’s easy to overlook the steady progress of Dillon Simpson. I love watching his progress, because it tells me a lot about the player. Smart, learns his lessons, and when he takes on more responsibility the coach isn’t forced to take it back. One thing I’ve learned over time: In life, you bet on those guys every time. Overcoming obstacles is a big part of any endeavor and learning how to do it is damn near everything. Source
  • Dillon Simpson: ”I dislocated my shoulder and tore my labrum and another ligament, so it was a tough break for me. A summer of hard work — you don’t want to say for nothing but to hurt yourself the second day of camp is always tough.” Source
  • Jonathan Willis, Oilers Nation: Pros: He’s an intelligent, well-rounded defenceman who can do a little bit of everything. Cons: He lacks a standout quality and needs to get noticed. Source
  • The Hockey News: Has a very projectable frame and solid puck-moving skills (especially at lower levels). Also has good pedigree as the son of former NHL sniper Craig Simpson. Source
  • Tyler Thomson: Simpson could challenge for a job as early as next season but it remains more realistic that he his at least two years from developing into an NHL-ready defenceman. Source

THE FUTURE

Simpson’s injury this fall meant he was left behind and the numbers (16GP, 0-3-3 -5) reflect it. Among the AHL group, I feel he is ‘in the range’ with Joey Laleggia, Jordan Oesterle and David Musil. Each player has a unique skill set, and the reason I have always been bullish on Simpson is because he is a cerebral player. He is a good shot blocker, can pass the puck well and clearly has some pedigree as an athlete. This season has been a struggle, and his fall in the rankings acknowledges it. That said, there is a prospect here and I think we can use the journey of Brandon Davidson as a cautionary tale in making the call on him too early—even after year five post draft.

simpson2

THE 2011 DRAFT

  • Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, No. 1 overall. A wonderful young player who has already spent years playing against the best opposition in the game. Graduated.
  • Oscar Klefbom, No. 19 overall. Top 4D with close to complete skill set. His recent injury drove home his substantial value. Graduated.
  • David Musil, No. 31 overall. Smart D, foot speed is a problem and now Reinhart blocks him. A candidate the Winter Top 20.
  • Samu Perhonen, No. 63 overall. Big goalie back in Finland. No longer in organization.
  • Travis Ewanyk, No. 74 overall. Tough as nails checking C now in Ottawa organization.
  • Dillon Simpson, No. 92 overall. Defensive D who is an expert shot blocker and a good decision maker. Lacks the kind of offensive ability that will allow him to play that role in the NHL, so we are looking at a two-way or defensive defenseman. No. 18 prospect Winter Top 20.
  • Tobias Rieder, No. 114 overall. Scouting home run, he’s in the NHL. No longer in organization.
  • Martin Gernat, No. 122 overall. Appears to be in the final year with the organization. Not a Candidate at this time for Winter Top 20.
  • Laurent Brossoit, No. 164 overall. Flames draft pick acquired in Ladislav Smid salary dump.Has progressed very well as an Oilers prospect. Currently injured. No. 6 prospect, Winter Top 20.
  • Frans Tuohimaa, No. 182 overall. Playing well in the Swedish second tier league. No longer in organization.
  • Iiro Pakarinen, No. 184 overall. The Panthers drafted but did not sign him, and Pakarinen was plucked by Edmonton for only money. He is 44 games into his NHL career and has a nice range of skills. He has no strong connection to Peter Chiarelli so could be playing his final games in this league, but I like his potential a lot. No. 10 prospect, Winter Top 20.

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30 Responses to "OILERS NO. 18 PROSPECT: DILLON SIMPSON"

  1. geowal says:

    Martin Gernat, No. 122 overall. Appears to be in the final year with the organization. Not a Candidate at this time for Winter Top 20.

    I do notice Gernat is playing pretty steady, even if the offense appears non-existent. Interested to hear any verbal on him and if he really is done (presumably you’ll have a list of also rans when done the top 20). You’d think he’d be further down the line if he really had no chance with the org.

    Love the series, as always.

  2. dessert1111 says:

    Minor thing, but I think Gazdic was picked up off waivers iirc? Could be wrong.

    I feel like the prospect list is pretty deep these days with decent-level talent; could also be wrong about that, though.

  3. Ryan says:

    dessert1111:
    Minor thing, but I think Gazdic was picked up off waivers iirc? Could be wrong.

    I feel like the prospect list is pretty deep these days with decent-level talent; could also be wrong about that, though.

    Gazdic was placed on waivers by Dallas, Stars not Eakins.

  4. Halfwise says:

    Jets score with 5 seconds left in the 1st, but the contemptible Flames still lead 2-1.

  5. Ryan says:

    Lots of chatter lately including in the old thread of an RNH for Weber trade.

    At first glance, it seems batshit crazy.

    How can you trade a 22-year-old #1 ov pick for a 30-year-old right shot dman?

    I love the Nuge, but something tells me and others here that his offense is not what you’d expect from. #1 ov, though he is a splendid hockey player.

    Then you put on your Chiarelli hat and realize that you can keep adding #4-7 dman forever to no effect.

    Klefbomb is already our best defenseman right now today, though he’s never going to be Shea Weber.

    Nurse is already a beast at 20, but like Klefbomb, I don’t think he’ll ever have Weber’s shot or offense.

    Number 1 dmen who play in all situations dmen that also produce elite offense are hard enough to find that I don’t know how you say no to a Weber trade when you have McDavid and Draisatl.

  6. Ryan says:

    Ryan,

    Weber would single-handedly transform a tire fire of a blue line into:

    Klefbomb – Weber
    Sekera – Davidson
    Nurse – Schultz
    Fayne

  7. Really? says:

    Ryan,

    While Weber would obviously represent an improvement, the 3rd pairing RHD is still a weakness that would have to be upgraded. I just wouldn’t feel comfortable with Schultz on the roster.

  8. LMHF#1 says:

    Ryan:

    Number 1 dmen who play in all situations dmen that also produce elite offense are hard enough to find that I don’t know how you say no to a Weber trade when you have McDavid and Draisatl.

    If the name you referenced here was Drew Doughty, PK Subban or Erik Karlsson, then you’re on. Weber’s age is too much of a question mark.

  9. Cahoon says:

    Really?,

    You don’t trade a 22 year old centre whose game resembles Datsyuk’s for any defenseman over 30. The value just isn’t there. And the cap hit is insane. That contract will be an albatross as Weber declines.

  10. frjohnk says:

    I don’t think the Preds trade Weber to the Oilers ( or anybody else)

    1. Weber is the face of the franchise which is Smashville and he is the number 1 guy. Would the guy Weber is traded for be able to replace Weber as the face of the franchise?

    2. They are in a win now mode. Jones replacing Weber as the top RHS on their D core is one helluva mountain and while Jones might become a number 1 Dman one day in the future, he would be replacing one of the best in the game. Jones is not even close and wont be for a few years if he actually gets there.

    3. I do not know the numbers, but I believe the recapture penalties for Nashville are quite high if Weber retires early with another team.

    Maybe Speeds or someone else with a better understanding of the CBA can clarify but if Weber were to play for another team such as the Oilers and retired early the cap penalty would not be much for the Oilers. Preds would pay a big penalty through recapture.

    4. But the biggest reason Preds and Oilers don’t do a deal is that we don’t have Omark anymore. The Omark chip would have brought this deal together. But MacT got rid of Omark for magic beans that actually turned into invisible magic beans and we got fuck all for that transaction. MacT lost us the deal to get Weber.

  11. flyfish1168 says:

    I believe Chai at at one of his interviews stated that it is very difficult to procure young good talented players. If he still holds this to be true he would not be trading a 22 year old for a 30 year old with CAP issues down the road even though the monetary component goes to 1 million per year but the cap hit is 7.8 million per. It would have to be Josi and if its Jones I don’t believe that would be enough since he doesn’t see the same level of competition as does RNH. JMHO

  12. böök¡je says:

    We unfortunately missed the opportunity to trade a young and not yet established Hall for a veteran entering his declining years, but its not to late to do so with RNH. The clock is ticking though. Wait too long and RNH’s value may be way too high to make a move like this.

  13. One-Timer says:

    Halfwise:
    Jets score with 5 seconds left in the 1st, but the contemptible Flames still lead 2-1.

    Johnny with the EN for the hattie. When does this stop?

    Even though I’m drinking inexpensive brandy from a cracked tumbler next to my Christmas tree, I’m still less contemptible than the Phlegms.

    * spits cheap brandy *

  14. delooper says:

    Going into this Christmas break, I feel a giant swell of calm over Oilers nation. The team still has problems. But barring a catastrophe of biblical proportions, their current problems are nowhere comparable to the problems they had this time last year. They have some pretty nice problems… except on D. So I’m feeling pretty good.

  15. AsiaOil says:

    Last 6 games: 1g-1a-2p / avg CF% 39.35% / avg ZSO%Rel 13.8 / plus-minus -7

    This has been RNH line over the last 6 games where he faced mostly 2nd line opposition as the other teams were focused on Hall’s line. Exception to this was the NYR game at home where they faced Brassard’s line who owned their soul. Even at home last night TMac chose to send Hall/Drai out against the Wheeler/Little line instead facing lesser foes and he protected his 2nd line (RNH/Ebs/Poo).

    So let’s take off the rose colored glasses and seriously consider what we’ve got here. If NASH would consider trading us Weber for a RNH package then we would be foolish to reject this out of hand. To be blunt – Weber is a far more rare commodity than a guy who put up the stats line at the top of this page in a situation where the team really needs him producing. Weber is also not old – he’s 29 FFS – and has at least 5 more elite years before the wheels start to slow. Maybe more as he doesn’t have near the miles on his body that other elite dmen who have gone deep into the playoffs regularly.

    Let’s be clear – RNH is a fine young center. Top line guy on a mid-low end team. Second line on an elite team due to the lack of size and offense. That’s a good player – but it’s not getting you Weber without the trading partner having a clear need (they do) and adding more to the pot. Analogies to Datsyuk are false as his development path was so unusual as compared to RNH whose trajectory matches his draft report very well (both pro and con). The next offensive gear is not there folks unless RNH plays with a pair of elite guys like Hall and Drai. I’d actually do that next year to drive his value way up and then trade him for a very valuable dman at the deadline. That would be very cagey GMing and Drai/CMD would be more ready to take over.

  16. Kmart99 says:

    Nuge always seems to go on decent offensive runs every year at some point. If he plays 80 games this year I won’t be surprised one bit if he puts up 65 pts. He may never be the offensive dynamo people expect from a #1OV, but I’m sure his career will have a couple 70pt seasons, let’s just hope those seasons come with the Oilers.

  17. Ryan says:

    LMHF#1: If the name you referenced here was Drew Doughty, PK Subban or Erik Karlsson, then you’re on. Weber’s age is too much of a question mark.

    Well, if RNH is your trade bait, those players are never going to enter a sane conversation as a return.

    Weber’s age is absolutely the question mark and we’d be taking most of the risk in this type of deal.

    You’re basically hoping to get five more years of play at his current level and take whatever you can get after that.

    The Oilers blue line is a Denver boot for the team. Fixing the problem obviously is a very difficult challenge.

    Maybe you trade for Seth Jones and hope he evolves to a top pairing dman or maybe you’re able to get Byfuglien or Burns, but there’s not a lot of options to fix the right side of our blue line.

    I think we as Oilers fans underestimate how much it would cost to pry Burns out of SJ even with only one year on his contract or a Byfuglien from Winnipeg on an expiring contract. Then you’re spending assets to acquire a player that’s going to get paid if you can even re-sign them.

    The Oilers just don’t have internal options to fix their blue line unless you’re willing to wait five years or more. Free agency is unlikely to solve any problems unless Byfuglien is available and we’re able to sign him.

    The oilers are going to have to pony up to get a dman and Eberle or Yakupov won’t get the deal done.

  18. Ryan says:

    frjohnk,

    I agree with you on all accounts. My point wasn’t that it was likely scenario, just that if it were available, it wouldn’t be crazy for us to make the deal.

    As far as I understand, Nashville will face some sort of substantial cap recapture penalty regardless of which team that he plays for if he retires early.

  19. Lois Lowe says:

    AsiaOil,

    Go home DarkAsia, you’re drunk.

  20. AsiaOil says:

    Kmart99,

    I think 65 points this year only happens if he centers Drai and Hall after CMD returns – and that would be more about those guys than RNH. He’s a 0.70 ppg player for his career and is pretty much at that level again this year. What you see may be what you get – and a much more probable outcome than any Datsyuk analogies based on nothing more than hopium. He’s a fine player but Oiler fan evaluations of this guy are not shared by the many outside Edmonton. I’d play the heck out of him between Hall and Drai after CMD returns and then sell high to a team desperate for a center at some point over the next year. But let’s also be honest – we are not thinking about trading him for a dman if CMD isn’t an Oiler. He would be a very good 2C behind Drai for a long time – but CMD and Drai changed everything.

  21. AsiaOil says:

    Lois Lowe,

    Witty, data-based and well argued – outstanding!

  22. BONVIE says:

    If it’s was Myers for Nuge, I would make that trade. If we can get Burns or Josi in a trade for Eberle or Yakapov I would be listening and if only Nugent was wanted I would be seeking a centre to come back this way with Nashville, because we then would lack any depth at centre, Colin Wilson from Nashville along with Josi.

    I like Weber plenty but Nasville has had most of the good years out of that contract, I would be worried about cap problems as he declines.

    Hamonic is still an option but he’s not used as a top pair, I can’t see wanting to bid too high definitely not Nuge.

    We need a number 1 Dman and if it leaves us short for a bit at centre, at least I know that a good number 3 centre could be acquired fairly easy, but that top pair Dman is beyond “hard target”.

  23. Marc says:

    NateInVegas ‏@NateInVegas 8h8 hours ago

    At 22:
    Nugent-Hopkins 4 seasons 50+ points?
    – Pavelski was still in the NCAA.
    – Datsyuk was still in the KHL
    – Sedin 36points NHL

  24. Soup Fascist says:

    Will Simpson’s “smarts” be enough to overcome his lack of natural speed?

    I have not seen the Condors this year so maybe his skating is improved but that has been the cross he has had to bear since his time in the AJHL.

    I don’t recall Craig being especially fleet of foot as a forward, but he was smart, had hands and went to the tough parts of the ice. Different times now. You have to be able to skate in this league, especially as a D-man.

  25. frjohnk says:

    Marc:
    NateInVegas ‏@NateInVegas 8h8 hours ago

    At 22:
    Nugent-Hopkins 4 seasons 50+ points?
    – Pavelski was still in the NCAA.
    – Datsyuk was still in the KHL
    – Sedin 36points NHL

    Nobody here is debating that RNH is not good or that he has peaked.

    Everybody knows we need a top pairing Dman.

    While Nurse and/or Klefbom are trending in that direction, it is not guaranteed that this happens. And if it does, when? So the media and now teams are wondering how patient is Chia is with this roster and more specifically the D core.

    We probably have the greatest center depth potential moving forward in the league.

    Its been mentioned before
    Having McDavid, RNH and Draisiatl is like having Crosby, Datsyuk and Kopitar. You could stick Joe Blow beer leaguer in the 4th spot and that’s still the best center depth in the league.

    Media has speculated that the Oilers would maybe use one of these pieces, well not McDavid, but one of these pieces in a trade for a top pairing Dman.

    Now we are hearing that at least 1 team has inquired about RNH

    I don’t believe Nashville ever trades Weber for reasons I outlined above so for people who do not like Webers age and/or contract they should not worry about that.

    But until the Oilers fill that number 1 D man spot, Oiler fans are going to have to get used to hearing trade rumors of one of the centers ( not McDavid) for a number 1 Dman until the trade occurs, the position is filled internally or free agency.

  26. leadfarmer says:

    frjohnk,

    Except if you trade RNH you have 2 teenage centers and 2 Joe Blows. Not saying that upgrading the defense isn’t a priority. But I don’t like the idea of Sekera teaching all of Reinhart, Davidson, Klefbom, Nurse, and even Jones is not having the easiest time this year and still needs mentoring all while the centers that can play are still teenagers. I like Jones and value wise it is a good trade, but it is not a trade we need if we want to make a playoff run during MacDavids ELC. We spent last years tradeable assets for a D men who is not even ready yet for the big leagues. We can’t trade Nuge unless a young legit top pairing defenseman is coming back or one that will be there next year and can handle a partner that has less than 200 games under his belt

  27. godot10 says:

    Weber’s cap hit becomes an albatross right in McDavid’s peak career years. #TheWayToBuildAContender! -)

    95% of D in their thirties decline steadily. There are very few freaks on D like Chara, Pronger, Chelios, or Lidstrom who are effective into their thirties at an elite level. One is deceived by survivor bias as to the probabilities.

    Weber is a very poor bet probability wise.

  28. LMHF#1 says:

    Ryan:

    I don’t really care if Hopkins isn’t the building block for one of those trades. That’s the limit of the sort of player I’d be willing to start the conversation with.

    You don’t become a winning team by your GM taking all the risk on in trades. I say this as both a “gambler” type and someone who believes that the defence is THE problem.

    The thing is, the Oilers don’t need a mega money #1. They need to be deploying only 2s, 3s and 4s. That’s the ticket to winning.

    Would I go for it if a Pronger deal was out there? Of course. But that deal is the type of deal you make. Not Hopkins for Weber.

  29. SwedishPoster says:

    It’s not an easy task winning the trade if you move a 22 year old center who puts up 50+ point seasons while playing the other teams best. RNH has yet to fulfill his full promise and I personally think that while he’s ok defensively he’s a bit overrated in his own end. But I think the risk of losing a trade is substantial at this point.

  30. square_wheels says:

    godot10,

    Statistically, I agree, not a great bet.

    But I will continue to caveat any bet on an older star player with the fact that rehabilitation techniques such as stem cell injections are becoming a game changer in pro sports, so previously career ending tissue issues are not going to be the risk they once were.

    Concussions on the other hand, huge issue with the speed of the game.

    I’d make the Weber bet but not with Nuge.

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