Dillon Simpson from boy to polished defenseman… UND’s defensman steps up to make major impact on team.
University of North Dakota Junior defenseman Dillon Simpson accelerated his high school studies to come to UND at a very young age of 17 years old. His first season with UND, Simpson could have been attending high school with kids his own age instead of playing in a league full of 20 year old men.
Simpson was drafted in the fourth round, 92nd over-all in the 2011 NHL entry level draft by the hometown Edmonton Oilers.
The Edmonton Oilers Hockey’s Future page
has Simpson listed as a project.
Simpson is a project in the purest sense. It’s unlikely he leaves school early, barring an incredible jump in production, so it won’t be clear where he fits for a couple years.
This season has kind of been a coming out party for the young defenseman.
This season, Simpson has shown us a peak of what we can expect from him in the weeks to come.
On the ice Simpson’s play oozes with confidence.
Head coach Dave Hakstol had this to say about Dillon Simpson’s play during the last series and more specifically last Saturday Night.
“I thought this past Saturday especially in a game where we weren’t happy with a lot of things – there were very many things that we did. I thought he was one guy that continued to play at a real efficient level. We’re happy with his play – he’s made a nice step forward from where he was as a sophomore and he has held that level of play at a pretty consistent level. So there have been a lot of positive signs for him.
Coach Hakstol on whether Dillon Simpson is physically stronger this season.
He’s stronger, he’s more mature, Hakstol said. You always have to remember that everyone’s body matures at a different age. But also, Dillon’s a junior but he just turned 19 years old, he’s a young junior. I think what we’re starting to see is some of that physical maturity starting to kick in and that combined with a lot of the hard work that he has put in over the last couple of years you’re starting to see the payoff of that added strength and improved conditioned levels and that usually leads to an improved level of consistent play.
Coach Hakstol was asked whether junior defenseman Dillon Simpson has improved dramatically from last season.
“Number one he [Simpson] is getting a little more opportunity,” Hakstol said. “But usually opportunity comes with performance. The two have a coincidently way of meeting in the middle. You perform well you tend to see more opportunity. I think it’s a combination of the two for Dillon, he has very good offensive instincts, that’s a hole that he jumped into obviously it’s part of the power play set up but it’s also a read from his stand point – he made a good read – he jumped into a hole and finished a play. That’s something that we hope to see more and more out of him, we hope to see more of his offensive talents coming through.”
I believe the sky is the limit with Dillon Simpson and as his play improves, his minutes increase and so does his points total.
In case you were wondering, Dillon is the son of former NHLer, Hockey Night in Canada television broadcaster and MSU Spartans Alumnus Craig Simpson.