The New York Islanders pulled off a one-two punch with cap-crunched teams Saturday, acquiring Johnny Boychuk and then Nick Leddy, who is joined by Rockford goalie Kent Simpson on his way to the Isles organization.
We dug up a few references to help familiarize you with the new acquisitions. First up is Simpson, the one you surely know the least.
Simpson is a 6'3" goaltender originally from Edmonton (which explains his favorite team, see below). The Hawks drafted him in the second round, 58th overall, in 2010 out of Everett of the WHL.
Once Upon a Time
Like every goalie drafted that early, even back in 2010 when teams were still more likely to pick goalies in the first two rounds, there were reasons to see some promise there. Said NHL Central Scouting at the time:
"He's a big, strong goalie who covers the net. He's not a really flashy guy but he's always in position. He improved over the course of the year. I think he's going to be an excellent NHL goaltender because of the net coverage. You get up to the NHL level, you need to cover as many holes as you can. He already does it. His technical part of the game is exceptional. He's very controlled. He's got good rebound control. He's a blocking-style goalie. He reads the play -- and he's not all over the place. He's always in position to stop the shot. He gives himself a chance to stop the shot in most cases."
Of course, that was four years ago, or a year after the Islanders drafted Anders Nilsson and Mikko Koskinen. Now Simpson has a couple years in the pros with ECHL Toledo and AHL Rockford, a single NHL appearance last season (two goals allowed on five shots in one period of relief work), and he's part of a minor goalie swap included in the Nick Leddy trade.
His stats last season with Rockford were unimpressive (.891 in 31 games) and bested on the IceHogs by Antti Raanta and Jason Labarbera, who took over after a mid-season trade. That .891 ranked Simpson 43rd out of 44 goalies (yes, lower than Nilsson) with 1500 or more minutes.
Granted, goalie stats are sketchy in half-season samples, the AHL's West and East don't face each other, and Simpson is just 22. So his record is still to be determined, but obviously he is a throw-in for a trade that revolved around Leddy, TJ Brennan and Ville Pokka. There's no reason to see Simpson as more than a project at this point, like the goalie who went the other way.
According to the Blackhawks website, he models his game after Cam Ward:
"[Ward] has a good butterfly, plays very efficiently and is very composed."
And on the random human interest side, here are Simpson's favorite...things, at least as recorded back when he joined the Hawks organization:
NHL Team: Edmonton Oilers
NHL Player: Marc-Andre Fleury
Shootout move: "Glove save"
Video Game: Call of Duty
Movie: The Guardian
TV Show: Seinfeld
Actor: Leonardo Dicaprio
Cartoon: The Simpsons
Pump-up song: "New Noise" by Refused
Restaurant: Jack’s Grill
Sport (other than hockey): Lacrosse
Breakfast food: Waffles
Fun fact: Simpson was born in March of 1992. Seinfeld hit the air on NBC in July 1989, running until May 1998, when Simpson was six. That show, man. It had legs.