December 04 2010 08:30AM
This is Brandon Davidson. He was the 6th WHL player chosen in the past three years by the Oilers, and the second from the Regina Pats. Although not gifted with the resume of Jordan Eberle, this young man is showing he was certainly worth a pick long before he was taken (the 6th round). Where did he come from? How good is he?
When projecting junior hockey players, there are some simple rules. They should dominate their 18-year old seasons (if they're legit NHL calibre prospects) because most of them will be entering their 3rd year in the league. What makes Davidson's story so impressive is that this season (10-11) is his second in the WHL and that he is 19.
Previous to that, he had a couple of cups of coffee with the Olds Grizzlys (AJHL) and played at lower levels (despite being eligible to play higher) for various reasons. This fellow isn't quite a modern Claire Alexander (I don't know if he's ever delivered milk) but his story is an interesting one.
His draft day story wasn't sunshine, lollipops and rainbows. Scouting reports were not all positive:
- Mike Remmerde, Redline Report: I usually like late bloomers who come out of nowhere, but this guy's skating bothers me too much. Has big trouble with pivots. But he's got really good hockey sense and is a very good puck mover. Probably goes way higher than I like, but if somehow he lasted until the 5th round, I might be interested.
- International Scouting Services: Davidson was listed by the Pats after last seasons Mac's Midget Tournament. He has not missed a beat and has added some offensive flair to the Pat d-core. He moves the puck very well and is a key contributor to the PP. He has great mobility and vision with the puck. He has made an easy and smooth transition from Midget AAA to the WHL. Not often is there an 18 yr old rookie who has the impact that Davidson has had this season.
So we're dealing with a puck moving defender with decent size (6.02, 194), an ability to play defense and some nice arrows. He did have a knee problem last Christmas, but other than that injuries don't show up on the radar. Here are Brandon Davidson's boxcars with plus minus for his WHL career:
- Age 18: 59gp, 1-33-34, 37pims +15 (-11)
- Age 19: 28gp, 4-21-25, 28pims -5 (-12)
The Pats are 58-93 at evens (GF-GA) this season, meaning the average defender (if they run three pairings) would be about -12. So that -5 may look evil but he's well above average. Last season he was on another level, posting +15 on a team in which the average Pat defender would have been about -11. That's a crazy number.
Davidson comes from Taber, Alberta. He currently ranks 5th among WHL defensemen in points. Oilers pick Martin Marincin is first in the league. Expecting a 6th round pick to make the NHL and have a career is not reasonable.
However, 6th rounders do in fact negotiate the rapids and make it from time to time (Kyle Brodziak was a 7th rounder, Matt Lombardi too) and Davidson has played well enough to show up on the radar screen. The numbers say he's going to have a pro career, and that's more than anyone thought possible a couple of years ago. If he continues to post these impressive numbers, he'll get his shot.
This is one of the feel good stories of the entire 2010 draft, and another Stu MacGregor bullet appears to have found its way.