Background and History
As the Top 25 Under 25 works its way up the considerable list of Oilers prospects and players under 25, it lands on Dillion Simpson. Drafted in the fourth round of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, Dillion Simpson was picked 92
Simpson has spent the three years after his successful NCAA career in the Oilers developmental system with the Oiler AHL affiliates, Oklahoma City Barons and Bakersfield Condors.
Simpson’s AHL numbers in the 2016-2017 season were the lowest of his career with only three goals and eight assists for 11 points in 53 games played. His 2015-2016 point totals were almost double with four goals and 16 assists for 20 points in 57 games played. Despite his poor showing in the AHL, Simpson played three games in the NHL for the first time in his career. His lower point totals may not be something the Oilers are worried about.
Despite having an off year offensively, the writing staff at Copper and Blue were consistent in their rankings. Simpson is ranked from 19th to 22nd giving him one of the narrowest ranges for a player this low in the Top 25 Under 25.
Why He Made the List
The fact that Simpson made the NHL line up, which for a player who has spent the last three seasons attempting to break though, is a measure of success in itself. It certainly may have been one of the reasons he ranked in the high twenties on the list in his final year of eligibility for the Top 25 Under 25. Another compelling reason is the lack of high quality AHL defensemen who can play limited roles in the NHL. The Oilers defensive core has been the subject of a lot of speculation over the course of the summer as it is being viewed as incomplete. Simpson is one player who will probably spend much of his time in the AHL but has the potential to play a limited, 6 or 7 defenseman role, for the Oilers.
Why He Made the List at 21
Despite three years of development, and two years since the last Top 25 Under 25 was compiled, Simpson doesn’t seem to have taken many steps forward. This stagnation seems to say that Simpson has hit his high point, at least with the Oilers organization. He had his lowest AHL point total in 2016-2017 and “his skating has been an issue at times.” Though he made the Oilers lineup in 2016-2017, he only managed three games, from December 8