Photo Credit: Perry Nelson/USA TODAY Sports

Dillon Simpson versus Keegan Lowe

This fall the Edmonton Oilers will be auditioning several defensemen for depth roles at the NHL level. With Andrej Sekera injured, the possibility exists for a minor leaguer from one year ago to make the big club and gain some traction as an NHL option.

Two of the hopefuls are sons of former Oilers—and big name Dads too, in Kevin Lowe and Craig Simpson. It’s likely to be a fairly close competition based on age, experience and AHL usage.


  • All numbers via the excellent Prospect-Stats.com.
  • Time-on-ice is estimated.
  • Qual Comp also estimated and the gap is very fine for all teams. Lowe played with two different AHL teams during the year, bringing more clouds to his number.
  • Lowe is the better offensive player based on this past season, but neither man is going to make his living offensively.
  • Time on ice and Qual Comp estimates have these two men playing basically the same role. Remember, this is 15 minutes a night at even strength, so they’re both playing a lot.
  • The GF-GA while each was on the ice is strong, good things were happening with Simpson and Lowe on their respective teams.

The biggest gap appears to be penalties and that could benefit Keegan Lowe. The Chiarelli Oilers are an edgy bunch, and Keegan Lowe got his Dad’s rugged style. It may come down to that when the recall comes during the season. From here, this looks like a very close race.

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If you look at the Oilers & Condors depth charts, there are a bunch of defensemen who are unlikely to play a lot in the NHL this coming season. Ziyat Paigin, Ethan Bear and Caleb Jones may get a cup of coffee and veterans like Mark Fayne and Ryan Stanton are also in photo.

If we’re honest, those options are probably either too young or too old. Somewhere in the middle are Dillon Simpson and Keegan Lowe, with one or both in a very good spot to receive a recall this winter. Which one would you choose?

  • OriginalPouzar

    As I posted on Lowetide’s site earlier today:

    I really wish the general fan could evaluate Keegan Lowe and his signing without regard to his last name.
    The guy is a legit top 4 AHL d-man with draft pedigree and young enough to have a shot at an NHL career.
    NHL teams sign these types of players each and every year – they are important to help the younger prospects in the AHL and to provide added depth in order to not have to rush a Jones or a Bear to the NHL if injuries pile up.

  • OriginalPouzar

    Before reading this blog, I had Simpson up the depth chart a few spots from Lowe: Auvitu,
    Simpson, Stanton, Fayne, Lowe.

    After reading it, it seems it seems much closer than I thought.

    I figure the Oilers

    I figure the Oilers will carry 8 d-men to start the year including two of the list above – I think it will be Auvitu and Simpson.

  • HardBoiledOil 1.0

    although it does appear as though Simpson and Musil were both drafted by the Old Boys Club because they were sons of former players, Simpson wasn’t very highly regarded when he was drafted but appears to have worked his ass off in the AHL to become a solid pro d-man and that has value! if he can play well in the NHL, that’s all that matters, i really don’t give a spit if he’s the son of Craig or not.

    • madjam

      If Bear is the best flexible option early , then that could alleviate the overtaxing on our top pair of Klefbom and Larsson , and perhaps even 2nd pairing . He may do well as a part time specialist , over rest that are more fill in defenceman of not high caliber .

        • 24% body fat

          ya, people are so desperate for a Bear type defenseman they think he should play this year. Numbers in Junior dont always equate to pro numbers.

          I personally think Jones will be the better player. And if you want to talk making NHL, he is more physically and attribute ready than Bear is. Only thing different is right vs left.

    • Oilerchild77

      Uhhhhhh …. that’s not gonna happen. Ethan Bear JUST got out of juniors. And he’s a d-man, a position that takes a lot longer to develop at than forward. Gifting him a spot now is exactly the type of thing the organization is trying to move away from. My guess is PC won’t let that happen.

    • OriginalPouzar

      There is almost zero chance that Ethan Bear will be playing NHL games early in the year.

      Ethan Bear, while a nice prospect, has quite a bit of developing to do.

      I actually expect him to struggle as a rookie pro in the AHL but gain traction and earn ice time throughout the year.

      • OldBalls99

        I agree that Bear will have a big wake up call the first few months in Bakersfield. I do think that he will develop quickly though and be ready mid next year for an impact call up. He is just too skilled and has had to work too hard to not develop. I get the impression that nothing was ever handed to this kid. Good progression every year is his calling card. Makes team out of camp in 2020…book it.

      • madjam

        That would make Bear the only WHL Defenceman of the Year , that did not get at least a 23 game debut in his first year . Remember he is also 20 years of age – not 18 , and a RD with a booming shot . If he shows well in camp I expect he will get an early opportunity .

  • Oilerchild77

    In the end, we’re talking about two 4th round long shots that aren’t likely to be on any team’s radar. They’re just placeholders until the younger prospects prove that they’re ready. Yes, it’s probably partly nepotism that has them both there, but I imagine PC is just stroking some old boys club egos to make nice before it gets real and he makes real hockey decisions for the future.

  • Jagrbaum

    Any insight as to why Fayne is seemingly in purgatory with this team Lowetide? You’re not the first to mention that he is “in [the] photo”, but as we saw last year, he’s not in Todd’s plans (passed over multiple times in favor of other Condors).

    Since it’s been so long that we’ve seen him (at the NHL level), I can’t remember anything more than his speed being significantly deficient. It makes me wonder why a team like New Jersey hasn’t taken a flyer on a known commodity at 50% retained. Especially considering how dire their situation is on the blue line.

    Just how bad is Mark Fayne?