Edmonton Oilers: Can Dillon Simpson Crack NHL Roster?

EDMONTON, AB - DECEMBER 4: Dillon Simpson. (Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)
EDMONTON, AB - DECEMBER 4: Dillon Simpson. (Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images) /

The Edmonton Oilers re-signed defenceman Dillon Simpson to a one-year extension this offseason. With a season left, the young up-and-comer appears ready to prove his worth.

Looking at the Oilers’ blue line depth, they have a pretty solid d-corps, and a lot of backup options. With Andrej Sekera ailing to start the year, Edmonton will have to improvise, and thankfully, has the pieces to do so.

While Eric Gryba is the most likely blueliner to draw into the lineup in wake of Sekera’s injury, the Oilers will see what they have in training camp and go from there. And Simpson, though mainly an AHL blueliner, could prove his worth and possibly earn a spot on the opening night roster.

In 53 games with the Bakersfield Condors last year, Simpson racked up three goals and 11 points and was a plus-8. He wore the “A” for the Oilers’ AHL affiliate, and also got the opportunity to suit up for three games at the NHL level.

Where Simpson Draws In

Edmonton Oilers
Edmonton Oilers /

Edmonton Oilers

When it comes to looking at Simpson’s role with the team, let’s first take a look at the Oilers projected defensive pairings.

Oscar Klefbom-Adam Larsson

Kris Russell-Matthew Benning

Darnell Nurse-Eric Gryba

(Extra blueliner)

Despite the fact that the Oilers seem set on this projected lineup, nothing is guaranteed. Players have proven to surprise during the preseason, and there is still an opening as the seventh defender. This is where Simpson comes into play.

A left-hand shot, the 24-year-old has puck-moving potential and plays a very sound defensive game. Though not much of a scorer, he is a proven playmaker and can make smart passes, as well as carry the puck up ice. In addition, he is a great skater and takes good care of the puck, and at 6-foot-2, 194 pounds, he has a good frame for the NHL level.

Though he has had a proven impact with Edmonton, he must do more and stand out to win a roster spot. That means improving his offensive edge and adding more bulk and physicality to his overall game.

Next: Edmonton Oilers: Can Mark Letestu Earn Extension?

In the end, if he stands out, proves his worth and acts as a necessary part of the blue line, all while out-performing Yohann Auvitu and Ryan Stanton, Simpson could crack the roster, but will likely start as the seventh blueliner.