EDMONTON - If it’s true that opponents make the best scouts, then Dillion Simpson is more than qualified to rave about Justin Schultz.
And he does.
Simpson, who plays at the University of North Dakota, says the unrestricted free agent defenceman from Wisconsin is worth the hype.
“He was my favourite player to watch in college hockey last year,” said Simpson, Edmonton’s fourth-round pick in 2011.
“He’s an unbelievable player. How he controls the play, he’s kind of got that (Niklas) Lidstrom look about him.
“He controls the puck, he controls the pace of the game.”
Simpson, like Steve Tambellini and all the other general managers lined up to court Schultz this week, believes he can step right in and play.
“It would be great for Edmonton to get a guy like him. I know he’s a young guy coming out of college, but I think he can do a lot of great things in the NHL right away.”
The NCAA to unrestricted free agency route is catching the attention of all college players.
Being able to pick and choose your team rather than be at the mercy of the draft is an option more and more players will likely explore, if that’s possible in the future.
“Nice loophole,” said Simpson. “I’m sure the (new) CBA will take care of that.”
HEAVY HITTERS: Wayne Gretzky told TSN on Friday that he made a phone call to Schultz (as did former Oilers defenceman Paul Coffey), to try to convince him that there is no better hockey market than Edmonton for a bunch of young players growing up and learning how to become winners together.