Legends of Hockey -- NHL Player Search -- Player -- Craig Simpson
Craig Simpson launched his hockey career with the hometown Junior B London Diamonds before making the leap to Michigan State University. There, he played two strong seasons and soon found himself selected 2nd overall in the 1985 Entry Draft by the Pittsburgh Penguins.

With the Pens, Simpson made steady progress during his two and a half-year stay, but the club itself faltered. With their eyes on defenseman Paul Coffey as tonic, the Pens sent Simpson among others to Edmonton just in time to plunge into the "Battle of Alberta"?the cross-provincial rivalry that spewed volcanic dust between the Oilers and Flames.

In the transition, Simpson thought he had died and went to hockey heaven. He promptly received tutelage from his idol, Wayne Gretzky, and, rather than languish on a third or fourth line, was tossed on left wing with Mark Messier and Glenn Anderson.

Simpson's numbers exploded. By season's end he'd scored a career-high 56 goals. Better yet, he won his first of two Stanley Cups that year. After defeating the Bruins in the Garden, Simpson sat in the stands, wearing his game underwear, to reflect on the win and to etch the moment into his mind for life.

He had the good fortune to savoir another league championship in 1990, this time minus their team leader, Wayne Gretzky. Simpson sustained his Oilers career for three additional seasons before rounding out his NHL days with the Buffalo Sabres. In the end, chronic back trouble forced him into retirement at age 28.


REGULAR SEASON PLAYOFFS
Season Club League GP G A TP PIM +/- GP G A TP PIM
1981-82 London Diamonds ON-Jr.B 41 23 22 45 36
1982-83 London Diamonds ON-Jr.B 42 47 64 111 68
1983-84 Michigan State Spartans CCHA 46 14 43 57 38
1984-85 Michigan State Spartans CCHA 42 31 53 84 33
1985-86 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 76 11 17 28 49 +1
1986-87 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 72 26 25 51 57 +11
1987-88 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 21 13 13 26 34 +5
1987-88 Edmonton Oilers NHL 59 43 21 64 43 +15 19 13 6 19 26
1988-89 Edmonton Oilers NHL 66 35 41 76 80 -3 7 2 0 2 10
1989-90 Edmonton Oilers NHL 80 29 32 61 180 -2 22 16 15 31 8
1990-91 Edmonton Oilers NHL 75 30 27 57 66 -8 18 5 11 16 12
1991-92 Edmonton Oilers NHL 79 24 37 61 80 +8 1 0 0 0 0
1992-93 Edmonton Oilers NHL 60 24 22 46 36 -14
1993-94 Buffalo Sabres NHL 22 8 8 16 8 -3
1994-95 Buffalo Sabres NHL 24 4 7 11 26 -5
NHL Totals 634 247 250 497 659 67 36 32 68 56


CCHA First All-Star Team (1985)
NCAA West First All-American Team (1985)
Traded to Edmonton by Pittsburgh with Dave Hannan, Moe Mantha and Chris Joseph for Paul Coffey, Dave Hunter and Wayne Van Dorp, November 24, 1987. Traded to Buffalo by Edmonton for Jozef Cierny and Buffalo's 4th round choice (Jussi Tarvainen) in 1994 Entry Draft, September 1, 1993.
Suffered eventual career-ending back injury in game vs. Tampa Bay, December 1, 1993.