Last season, the Edmonton Oilers employed 14 defenders—11 of whom played 10 or more games. Injuries were a major factor but we are (once again) likely to see a large number of blue—I am projecting 12 defensemen to at least make an appearance this coming year (nine playing in 10 or more games).
Dillon Simpson lacks one outstanding skill that we can point to, but does seem to have the ability to improve with experience—and deliver better results year over year.
- Dillon Simpson at 21: 71, 3-14-17 .234 points-per-game
- Dillon Simpson at 22: 57, 4-16-20 .351 points-per-game
Eric Rodgers gifted us with AHL TOI estimates for Bakersfield along with NHLEs and it gives us a valuable look into exactly where each player ranks in the organization’s estimation.
The TOI total is interesting, and deserves some extra attention. It is reasonable to suggest that Jordan Oesterle and Joey Laleggia received power-play minutes and that the other three would have received PK time. Laleggia and Simpson trail in ice time overall, but the even-strength estimates (not available as far as I know) may well be the numbers here—reduced in each case by a couple of special teams minutes per player. Fair? (Oesterle may get more of a PP push, but remember Brad Hunt).
Dillon Simpson will be an RFA next summer—at about the same spot as David Musil this year.
DILLON SIMPSON BAKERSFIELD RE: 65GP, 5-19-24
DILLON SIMPSON NHL RE 15-16: 4GP, 0-0-0
- What will his role be in Bakersfield? Increased playing time at even strength and on the PK. Edmonton has (mostly) the usual suspects from a year ago in Bakersfield, but the names above are going to spend more time (collectively) in Edmonton this coming winter than they did one year ago (barring a trade that buggers up my RE).
- Where do you project him on the depth chart? My opening night Bakersfield roster features Griffin Reinhart, David Musil, Simpson, Joey Laleggia and Mark Fraser. He will play top 4D with the Condors.
- What has changed since his draft day? Most of the men who should have established themselves at the NHL level—Alex Plante, Martin Marincin, David Musil—are either gone from the NHL, playing in other cities or playing alongside Simpson. He hasn’t passed all of them—Marincin would be ahead of Simpson if he was still an Oiler—but there is substantial evidence that Simpson has outlasted a few guys drafted ahead of him. Musil may be the next one.
- What does Simpson need to work on? He lacks an area of strength, so he will need to catch a break to get an NHL gig, but there is some evidence (college and pro) that he can grow into a role.
- What one thing will get Simpson to the NHL? He is a smart player. No way you get this far in pro sports without a dominant skill unless you adapt and find a way to make your skills fit the template.
- Anything else? He seems to progress season over season, with small (but consistent) spikes. His NHLEs since draft day (12, 15, 21, 20, 9—AHL debut—and 14) showed improvement every year in college and now every year pro.
- What will keep him out of the NHL? Many things could keep Simpson from the big leagues. He is not a fast player nor a big one, he does not possess a big shot and he has yet to post any giant assist total.
- What does his coach say? Gerry Fleming: “Overall, I think Dillon Simpson was our most consistent d-man all year long.” Source
- What does that say about all of the other defensemen in Bakersfield? What does that say about all of the other defensmen in Bakersfield?