Dillon Simpson is making a name for himself as he breaks out of the shadows of his two-time Stanley Cup Championship father, Craig Simpson.
The 6’2”, 20-year-old defenceman is currently attending the University of North Dakota and is coming off his third and best season with the team, notching career-highs in goals and points with five goals and 24 points.
“This year went pretty well, I felt more confident and my skating has improved and that helped me a lot. Offensively, I had the type of year I wanted and I think there is still room for improvement but on a whole, I held up my game and I did pretty well.”
In his first two years with the Fighting Sioux, he played 72 games, scoring four goals and collecting 28 points and in 2011, Simpson entered the NHL Entry Draft and in the fourth round, 92nd overall, the Edmonton Oilers called out his name.
“It was surreal. It was something I’ve thought about, basically my whole playing career and something I wanted. I was really happy when they announced my name and I was actually at that draft. I think I jumped almost two rows in front of me, I was so excited.”
Recently, Simpson made the decision to stay at UND for an extra year, his fourth year and took it upon Twitter to debunk any rumours he was leaving, saying it was the best choice for him.
“I think that’s the best decision for me. I could obviously use another year to develop and I’ll be in a good place where I can do that with good coaches and good staff and facilities around me where I can have a productive year and be ready to make some sort of a jump after the season next year.”
With the extra year, he hopes to continue building on the season he had this year while continuing to improve on his skills and skating.
“I’m just focusing on having a good senior year. Hopefully next year, I can come in and play well and keep building off what I’ve already done.”
“Skating is something I’ve been focusing on for the last three to four years and I think it’s come along quite well, but once again, it’s something I’ll be focusing on throughout the year. I’ll also be focusing on getting bigger and stronger and working on little things, like my skills and habits, that could go a long way for me, so I’ll be working on that throughout the year.”
As for what happens after college, Simpson said it’s up in the air.
“I think that’s yet to be seen. It depends on where I’m at, where the Oilers are at with me. Obviously, first and foremost, I have to have a good summer and be a good key to next year hockey-wise and see how things go. I’m going in with an open mind and hope to do my best for myself. I want to play in the NHL some day.”