simpson williams

Dillon Simpson (in photo, by Mark Williams) is in year two of his pro career, 111 games and miles of skating and defending closer to his NHL dream. Defensemen like Simpson are very hard to monitor for fans, because the boxcar numbers (39, 2-10-12) don’t really tell us the story of their game. A substantial portion of Simpson’s value is defensive, and we can’t really measure it for AHL players (no access to TOI and advanced stats collected by organizations). Is Dillon Simpson making progress? Is he tracking like Brandon Davidson did at the same point in his career?

Scouting Reports

If we are going to compare these two players, we should make sure they have some things in common. I like to go all the way back to draft day, in order to get the real goods (we all tend to skew the story after success or failure).

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  • Brandon Davidson Draft Day Scouting Report (via Mike Remmerde): I usually like late bloomers who come out of nowhere, but this guy’s
    skating bothers me too much
    . Has big trouble with pivots. But he’s got
    really good hockey sense and is a very good puck mover. Probably goes
    way higher than I like, but if somehow he lasted until the 5th round, I
    might be interested
    . Source
  • Dillon Simpson Draft Day Scouting Report (via Red Line Report); Stay at home defencemen with
    savvy and size. 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.
    .” Source

Hmm. Sounds similar in some important areas (I should point out that Simpson was playing against NCAA competiton—older players). That said, the general themes I see here are skating issues early, and slow progress. Simpson, as mentioned above, did not barge onto the UND campus and play 25 minutes a night, and Davidson spent his 20-year old season in the WHL.

As a pro player, age 21 and 22, Simpson has posted higher offensive (boxcar) numbers, and Davidson’s AHL time matches him.

  • Dillon Simpson at 21: 71, 3-14-17 .234 points-per-game
  • Brandon Davidson at 21: 26, 2-3-5 .192 points-per-game
  • Dillon Simpson at 22: 39, 2-10-12 .308 points-per-game
  • Brandon Davidson at 22: 68, 5-8-13 .191 points-per-game

Simpson would appear to be in the range with Davidson, perhaps a little better. I hesitate to put too much importance on this, because we don’t have time on ice totals and that impacts the boxcars heavily.

davidson ferguson

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It takes time. After 150 AHL games, Brandon Davidson showed the Oilers he had learned the lessons required to make the next step.

  • David Staples, Cult of Hockey (April 2015)In the
    first three games of the AHL playoffs, all OKC wins over the San Antonio
    Rampage, Davidson has played dominating two-way hockey and even been
    granted power play time in an interesting role, being asked to screen
    the goalie with his 6-foot, 2-inch, 215-pound frame
    . Source

We see it in Davidson’s play these days at the NHL level, where he approaches 25 minutes a night and plays in all situations. He is a mature player despite his youth and (NHL) inexperience—and those skills were developed in the AHL.

The AHL develops players like Davidson. Names this century that Edmonton developed include Jason Chimera, Fernando Pisani, Kyle Brodziak and now Davidson. Simpson is only 111 games into his NHL career, and honestly the most accurate thing we can say about him is that he has no real strengths. Still, he continues his development and the verbal has some encouraging words. We hear good things about SImpson, whether he is playing a shutdown role with David Musil or (as this afternoon) playing the defensive role on a pairing with Brad Hunt.

The Oilers don’t develop many Brandon Davidson’s in a decade, and betting on Dillon Simpson because he has some vague similarities with Davidson is folly. If you are in Vegas, bet on another Brandon Davidson emerging from the crowd in about 2020.

As for Dillon Simpson, I would suggest it is wise to wait another season to see what he becomes. There are some good arrows.

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  • YakCity1039

    Even though Simpson has nothing that really stands out, that may be a good thing. He’s not relegated to one specific area of the game, and is a more versatile defender, in that he could be an all three disciplines dman.

  • Namudi

    Honestly the roster I predict is going to look totally different next year with a way better defense so happy davidson squeaked in. Simpson might have a hard time cracking the lineup same with reinheart.

    Good luck boys

  • Harry2

    According to JW defenceman who are taller than 6’1.546373, were born at night, prefer baths to showers, dislike Corn Flakes and havent yet made the NHL have a 12.67543% chance of maybe playing a preseaon game before they are 27.

    Go Dillon Simpson!

  • hagar

    Your clicks are going through the floor since the yearly fail eh? Lol

    Absolutely flooding the site with random stuff.

    Yeah, Dillon Simpson plays for the oilers farm team.

      • hagar

        I will add something when I get the reason to.. Dillon Simpson is a joke compared to what we need.

        It’s the time of year to start sewing the yarn about our next, and I don’t care one bit for it.

        See you all next year, same Bat time, same Bat channel. If talks of Dillon Simpson are to bring some of our hope, then everything is lost.

    • Lowetide

      This comment gives me an opportunity (once again) to thank Wanye, Jon, Thomas and others for the freedom to write whatever content I feel has value.

      Yesterday night, I had a Slepyshev item and a Dillon Simpson item ready. I chose the Slepyshev item for my blog and the Simpson post for this blog based solely on scheduling (the Lowetide piece needed to be up at 5pm).

      I love the fact ON’s creative force allows all manner of things to be included. I understand Dillon Simpson may not be a fantastic story for you, but someday, maybe five years down the line, you will happen upon this article in a google search and re-read it with fresh eyes.

      For me, I am just thrilled to have the opportunity to share it, and I thank ON for it.

      • O.C.

        Keep it up LT. We would are all much more informed on who is still in development, and the process of that development of the players in the system.

        For the Oil fans, this is largely if not only as a result of your continued efforts.

        Without it, we would have to rely on ignorant opinions based upon speculation.

  • Make him and Musil take the Davidson route. Leave them in the AHL and forget about their existence for 3 years. Let them earn their way up the depth chart. Once they play a big role in Bakersfield give them their cups of the NHL by making them the first man up when someone is injured. Let them slowly transition into the NHL

  • Serious Gord

    Simpsons review reads far worse than davidsons did.

    Chimera Pisani brodziak Davidson. That’s all that the org has developed in 15 years. Scandalous.

    I think it was a fluke Davidson seems to have worked out. I highly doubt a son of one of the old boys – obviously picked largely for that reason – will succeed.

    If he does it will be at a very low level – nothing that will have any substantive impact on the oils fortunes.

  • Serious Gord

    Btw jultz is a healthy scratch on the pens – hardly a renowned defensive team – yet he was the leading minutes defenseman for the oil.

    That speaks volumes about how bad the oil defense is.

    And it speaks even more about Reinhart that with jultz gone and klefbom gone he can’t break the lineup even after the season is a lost cause. Certainly looks like he is going to be a colossal bust.

    • Oilerchild77

      Actually, the only reason the Oilers played Jultz so much this season was because they were trying to show him to the scouts. He wasn’t at any point the best defensive option and the Oilers knew it.

      Also, I believe the Oilers are able to save cap space by burying Reinhart’s contract in the AHL and is probably part of the reason he didn’t get a call-up.

      • Serious Gord

        So they were trying to trade him all season? He was playing lots of minutes even when there was no chance he was going to be traded.

        Shultz was the only Dman who wasn’t a rookie who could skate and had some potential offensive talent for long stretches this season. That’s why he was played as much as he was. And that he was edms best option in that regard shows how truly terrible and lacking in depth the defense is on this team.

  • hagar

    I don’t even know how so many people keep talking like next year is THE year?

    Does anyone remember last off season when everyone was an idiot for saying the team would suck again the next year still? Does anyone remember the year before that when everyone got trashed for saying the team would still suck?

    This site reminds me of an abused woman that keeps thinking things will change, but it never does..

    How about we stop talking like dorks every freakin year, and wait for things to actually change? I don’t understand how you all don’t get embarrased enough after each year to stop talking the game? You honestly think comparing numbers between Davidson and Simpson means we have another Davidson? It’s really quite embarrasing.

  • hagar

    Happy as hell with Davidson as I am, the thing is that he should be a solid number 5 or 6 dman on a good team.

    The difference is that people see him as a huge success on a pathetic dman team, and a top 3 in our world leading, pathetic dman line up. Now we talk like Simpson might have a chance to be as awesome as him? Lmfao

  • hagar

    You guys have no freakin idea what a good dman looks like. I would trade Hall, Ebs, and our first round pick this year for a true number one dman.

    This site is hilarious with lack of knowledge.

    Karlson plays 30 minutes a game, and is third in the league in points..

  • hagar

    I guess we can all go on record in an “on record thread” about our thoughts on the oilers next year? Seems like everyone forgets all the ball fluffing every year, then makes fun of the realists the next year again..

    Lets start an official sticky thread that stays here until the end of next season? Everyone can trash talk how MacT and Klowe have nothing to do with the outcome of the team.. some can argue that Connor is the reason why the team will make the cup run, others can argue that nothing will change until Hall, Lowe, Eberle, and MacT are gone.

    Anyone game? It’s super easy to just keep talking every year like others are idiots? You have the odds in your favor.

  • hagar

    And yes even if we got Mathews (I never said number one overall pick) I would trade Mathews plus Ebs and Hall for Karlson.

    Hall and Ebs would never land Karlson alone.. that is how super important that guy is. I would let the sens have those two players that can’t get it done, and a new player we don’t need, for the best player in the entire league hands down.

    • Spydyr

      “best player in the entire league hands down.”

      Really now, wonder what the Sens would do if you offered Connor for Karlsson?

      By the way I normally don’t do this but you seem to think you are the smartest person on this site.

      It is Karlsson with two s’s

  • Reg Dunlop

    I was feeling so optimistic about next year, what with Davidson emerging and Nurse gaining experience. Next year was going to be the turning of the tide. And then I read Hagar’s cold face slaps. Now I’m looking for that bottle of Xanax…BECAUSE HE’S RIGHT AND WE ALL KNOW IT.

  • For Pete's Sake!

    Thanks for a very interesting article. Once again this shows that the old cliche’ is true. Defensemen take time to develop.

    I wouldn’t give up on Dillon too soon. If he’s got anything like his father’s tenacity, he’ll make it to the NHL someday.

    Craig Simpson wasn’t the best skater either but by being brave enough to always park himself in front of the opposition’s net, he scored 497 points in 634 games and won a couple of Stanley Cups with the Oilers.

    If Dillon has some of that grit in his game, the Oilers could use it one day.