BRANDON MAN, OUT IN THE COLD?

davidson ferguson1

Brandon Davidson is waiver eligible this fall and that’s a problem. The Edmonton Oilers are going to need useful, inexpensive players in the future and Davidson is a solid candidate for a depth role at a good price. However, as things stand, it’s likely he’ll lose the training camp battle for one of the seven available positions and then have to clear waivers. Is it a big deal?

davidson draft

ALREADY COVERED THE BET

Brandon Davidson was taken in the late rounds of the 2010 entry draft, long after the suits were heading for the airport. The Oilers took him at No. 162 and Red Line report recommended him:

  • Red Line: One of the most intriguing prospect stories in the draft is that of
    Brandon Davidson. After being unable to afford AAA hockey, Davidson flew
    under the radar playing AA, and only started getting some legitimate
    exposure last season. Fast forward to today, and Davidson has
    established himself as a strong defenseman for the Regina Pats who has
    not only played tremendous defense, but also chipped in on offense as
    well. Given his unheralded path, it’s tough to forecast how much more
    potential is left in the tank, but he’s certainly deserving of a Top 60
    pick at this point.

Representing the Oilers, Stu MacGregor said what many scouting directors have told us in the past:

  • “We were looking for a puck mover, and Davidson
    certain is that. We were surprised he was there, he’s a talented kid. He
    did have an injury problem with a knee just after Christmas; we feel he
    has a legitimate chance to be a solid guy for us in our organization.”

Davidson finished up his junior career, hit the pro trail and found himself in Stockton of the ECHL during the 2012-13 season. That’s a very normal place for a sixth-round pick, but Davidson was only there for 11 games. In a way, his experience during the first three years of his pro career offer insight into just how much progress he’s made as a player AFTER getting drafted:

  • ECHL: 11 games
  • AHL: 149 games
  • NHL: 12 games

That’s a really good resume for Davidson, and he is one of five players from that sixth round to make an NHL appearance since 2010’s draft. Source

DAVIDSON IN THE NHL

Points

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Fancy

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Not much to say for his dozen games, but the Oilers did play him (15 minutes a night is a good total for a new NHL defender). He has a chance to have an NHL career and he doesn’t cost a lot. Edmonton knows him, he apparently gets along with everyone and his back story makes him a fan favorite. Talking about Davidson as a legit option moving forward isn’t charity, this is a bona fide prospect here.

WHY WILL THEY LOSE HIM?

We have no evidence Davidson will be lost to waivers, more talented players than him pass through all the time (Anton Lander being an example). However, the reason Edmonton is in this situation with Davidson has to do with the defensive depth chart and it’s a legit question to wonder if it’s worth protecting some of the veterans over an inexpensive player who could be part of the team for years to come. Here are the players who are waiver eligible and likely to play at least one NHL game this season:

  1. Andrej Sekera
  2. Nikita Nikitin
  3. Justin Schultz
  4. Mark Fayne
  5. Andrew Ference
  6. Eric Gryba
  7. Brandon Davidson
  8. Brad Hunt

Oscar Klefbom is not waiver-eligible but that doesn’t really help—he’s going to make the opening night roster. All of the defensemen not listed above who could play next season—Darnell Nurse, Griffin Reinhart, Jordan Oesterle, David Musil—don’t have to clear waivers to be sent down. Source

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

There are many possibilities: The Oilers could go with eight defensmen, a trade could be made in training camp, Davidson could be sent down, clear waivers and return when required. It’s also possible the Oilers lose Davidson to another team and we should be prepared for it.

As a fan, I’d love to see him stay an Oiler and have a long, productive career. I’d also be thrilled for him if another team plucked him from waivers and gave him a chance to fulfill his dream. There are only 180 (or so) top jobs for these men in the whole wide world. How on earth can I be upset if Brandon Davidson gets one of them?

Please don’t be Calgary. That’s all I ask.

    • Toro

      Waiving Nikitin is a good option but getting rid of NN without retaining salary just wont happen. if you found someone elses parking ticket laying on the ground you wouldnt pickup and pay it

  • oilerjed

    Nice Job LT,

    Your last line made me laugh. Somewhere at the beginning of the article a thought popped in my head of Brian Burke plucking him of the waiver wires just to piss us off!

  • BDH

    The chance of Davidson being picked up on waivers is less than 5%. Other teams just don’t have the scouting available to evaluate other teams’ minor league defencemen low in the depth chart, and that don’t put up points. For some other team to pick him up, they would need to expose him to waivers if they chose to send him down for his new NHL team.

    So extremely unlikely he gets plucked off waivers unless some other team thinks he would be an upgrade on their 3rd pairing as of this year.

  • billythebullet

    Correct me if I’m wrong but isn’t Hunt on an AHL deal? Oilers would have to sign him then bring him up through waivers. Since we are already at 47/50 I doubt we see Hunt in the NHL for the oilers at all this season.

    • JackB

      Brad Hunt (and Andrew Miller) are on NHL contacts. (two-way contracts)

      Both will be at the main training camp and both will have to clear waivers.

      The waiver period starts 14 days before the start of the regular season.

  • BDH

    Oh no! Whatever will we do if we lose the D-man currently ranked #10 on the depth chart of a poor to average group of D-men?!

    If a miracle happened and we traded Nikitin and Ference, Davidson is still #7 and sitting in the press box most nights, and that’s still only because one of Nurse or Reinhardt is developing in the minors.

    He’s a serviceable player with a back story that makes you want to cheer for him, but no one should be losing sleep over this.

  • BDH

    Its not right at all that any good playing ,up and comer (such as Davidson) should lose a job to a bad playing and/or aging and slowed down defender (such as in this case Nikitin and Ference).

    If the Oilers (or any team for that matter) want to keep having a driving healthy farm system, then get rid of those players who need to go and/or be retired.

    This kid just keeps plugging along and is doing his job on defence. IMO, I also like him far better than Hunt or Musil right now as a call-up as well.

    A future six man defence line-up of Klefbom, Nurse, Reinhart, Davidson, Oesterle, and Scultz (if he ever learns how to really play both ends together) looks very good and promising, even exciting….much, much more than Ference, Nikitin, Gryba, Faynetc.

    • BDH

      Nice. Agree on liking Davidson. As well as most of those others you name.

      Now please explain what we do with the remaining 6 years on Sekera’s contract and the 3 years left on Fayne’s.

    • fran huckzky

      I disagree. For far to long the Oilers have been giving jobs to the young guys who are the current latest flavor/ Davidson should get a position if he earns it but not because he is more popular than an aging veteran.

  • HardBoiledOil 1.0

    i have always been a fan of the Davidson pick. i hope we don’t lose him to waivers and end up keep a marshmallow instead. that would suck! this is one pick Stu didn’t screw up!

  • MacT's Neglected Helmet

    I like Brandon Davidson, but (at this point) nobody is going to claim him off waivers. And, truthfully, even if someone does, it’s not a big loss.

    If anything, I’d be happy for him if he was claimed off waivers and got a chance to play in the NHL this season.

    • YakCity1039

      His value is in his contract as well as his youth. and not necessarily in his performance as he isn’t that good at this point. A cheap 7th defenseman has value to a lot of teams.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    A lot of positives would occur if Nikitin and Schultz ran into each other during training camp. Putting both of them on the LTIR for the whole season with erectile dysfunctions.

    They could then keep both Nurse and Davidson. Clear 9.5 mill in cap space and spend the season prepared to bring in a Brent Seabrook at anytime.

    I know no one ever in the history of the world has ever shot left and played the right side before, but the Oilers will without a doubt blaze a new trail as they navigate this brave new frontier.

    • D'oh-ilers

      One site reports Seabrook in contract discussions with Hawks now , and willing to take a Hawk discount for an extention of 5 years . Doubt they will not sign him very soon and wrap him up . Bickell and/or Versteeg might be available as a result .

  • D'oh-ilers

    It’s been a long time since there’s been legitimate training camp competition for a spot on the d-corp. Is it September yet? No? Damn… I’ll just go enjoy the sun then.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    I think most teams have a Brandon Davidson. I think we are looking at tweener this year. I think he would clear waivers, and if not then he will get an opportunity somewhere else to establish himself.

    Being that he is a number 7/8 currently on one of the worst defences going into next season, I think its safe to conclude that he would clear early in the season.

    But then again if Taylor Chorney can have nine lives, there maybe a team out there that sees him as better alternative.

  • D'oh-ilers

    Why discuss Davidson, DOES NOT HAVE HHL CAREER………………………………………………………………………………………………….

  • fran huckzky

    Flames could pick him up if they don’t re-sign David Schlemko and with Smid’s health uncertain. However, he only played in one game against the Flames last year…

    • fran huckzky

      Flames already have Nakladol and Wotherspoon competing for the6- 7th spot. If Kylington makes the team, they compete with Engelland for the 7th spot.

  • Ndustry

    Wow pretty down on Nikitin eh? lol You know he was a good player before coming to the Oilers right? Chances are he’ll be good again and only a slightly overpaid UFA which is typical. As much as Id love to shed salary by losing someone on waivers I have to question if we already started the season and are under the cap why do we need to? Do we have a trade we need to shed some dollars for? Otherwise is more about accounting and profits than the “team” per-say. If a player isn’t performing we have the depth to send them down almost regardless of who they are or their salary and that should be the main reason to ever do so. Why pinch pennies when you dont have to? We have to many roster players so a trade makes sense but also DMen do get hurt the most and alot only play half the season so depth is also required. I’d love to trade for an upgrade on a quality player but nobody wants our overpaid D our trade value comes from our forwards who we don’t want to trade. So maybe we should play it out and keep building next year or maybe scoop up a future UFA being used as trade bait which they want very little return – ie Luke Schenn, or maybe Kyle Quincey. Plus we need assets like a Quincey (or an equivalent we have is Sekera)to trade for a big #1 D anyway teams still want a reliable asset in return and a plus, so unless we’re aquiring quality assets these big trades will never happen anyway… and even a Luke Schenn won’t cut it, but maybe a signed Quincey is worth somethinng.

    • JackB

      LOL! Down on Nikitin? Ahhhhhh YEAH!! Was he good before he got here? Ahhhh NO!! Columbus was laughing at Mc T when that phone was hung up! The old story of maybe a change of scenery will bring him back…he’s a 3rd pairing D-man at his best a few yrs back! A big non hitting slow on his feet D-man who has no heart! Columbus knew it and that’s why they let him go. Reinhart and Nurse are a way better option than him and they will show it at training camp. I can only hope that other teams get injuries to their D core and PC can get rid of that over paid bum. Go Oil!

      • Ndustry

        What you don’t think what the Oil payed for Nikitin is fair? lol I mean just because the Rangers got Boyle for the same price and Tampa got Stralman for the same price and we could only get Fayne from NJ and Nikitin from CBJ apparently says something of the NHL’s Siberia lol

        Anyway we only overpaid by 2M per season which is a steal for us! (at least at that time) And Nikitin was putting up top 4 TOI for a couple seasons until he fell down the depth chart but he still had the highest +/-. Like realistically He started in Stl and went from 16:00 TOI to 20:00 in his first season got traded to CBJ and put up 23:00 TOI for a couple seasons started 2014 at over 20:00 min then fell off the depth chart and landed at 17:00 min. There’s a good bet he could do well again in a situation that’s good for him. And he’s not a problematic player and has one season left for the gamble to pay off. Plus like you said if Nikitin doesnt bomb this season it will be easy to give him away at the trade deadline or if someone needs a D because of injuries.

        But you can’t dislike a player because of their salary, especially a UFA and even more so a UFA in EDM(even though everyone does). At 2.5M people would still like him and want him on the team and that’s all you should look at really, salaries aren’t the only indication of how good you are nor should they mean you have to be good, they fluctuate with the market and aren’t a report card for skill, Salary is just a tool not a measure, although you assume you can acquire better assets look at the Boyle and Stralman situation – nobody wants to play in Siberia unless of course your winning. Anyway like I said Nikitin isn’t problematic (although an injury is)and all complaints are directed at his salary (because noone will play here!) And even if you found someone better he’s not the last man down on our depth, plus you wont gain anything in cap space with dealing with a salary noone wants to take on. If he was the worst player than fine get down on him send him to the AHL or whatever but he’s not nor is he likely going to end up being so, maybe consider operating the club as a “team” as opposed to a “business” sometimes as well. lol

        I do have to admit I thought he was better until I looked at who else got signed that year for the same price lol I knew he was overpaid but thats pretty funny.

        • nuge2drai

          I don’t dislike him for any reason…its nothing personal…He’d be overpaid at half of that! He’s not very good plain and simple. What pisses me off is that he plays like a wuss!!! 6’4 225 and plays like contact is cancer and I want no part of it! Go over to the KHL like Belov! So many GM make the mistake of looking at size rather than heart hoping that they can change them. Yes size is good only if you use it properly but it don’t mean nothing if you don’t! your just a big pylon! And that’s Nikitin! 4 million dollar pylon. I can honestly say that I would have done a better job than him and so could a lot of guys that play beer league! Rant over! Go Oil !!

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Hope they don’t lose him, but if they do, maybe the Leafs pick him up. Then we’d still get to see Davidson and Marincin play/progress every weekend.

    It’s unfortunate their fate here was sealed before getting a chance to work with an experienced coaching staff.

    • Quicksilver ballet

      The real shame is that you believe either of them is an NHL dman. They are both AHL dmen and will never play regularly at the NHL level. Everyone loves Davidson because it’s a great story…just like Taylor Fedun. Problem is without that story he’d be another guy that just wasn’t good enough. As for marincin…well he never was and never will be an NHL defenseman. Don’t forget we were an awful team and with those types of dmen in the lineup we would have been awful again.

    • Quicksilver ballet

      I remember a while back, I read a Devils fan site. They were noting that the Oilers have a lot of skilled forwards, and that maybe they would be open to trading one of their young forwards for a defenceman.

      Someone proposed a Hall for Fayne trade, and they were soundly criticized, and the majority of commenters thought the Oilers should have to sweeten the deal. Point being, fans over-value their own players, especially young players.

      The Oilers finished 28th last season, and Davidson couldn’t crack the line-up. He probably isn’t in the top-6 this season. If the Oilers lose him, at least he will have the chance to play next season in the NHL, and he’ll get a push from his new team. That’s better than being buried behind Ference and Nikitin.

  • JackB

    Thought I might change the topic a bit. Was surfing sound cloud and came up with an interview (before the draft) a Boston sports radio did with Jeff Marek. (NESN is the radio station, I guess, never heard of it, but it does just Boston sports talk, Celtics, Red Sox, Bruins etc) Anyway the interviewer asked Jeff Marek about Connor McDavid. Here’s the interview. Thought some might enjoy it.

    (Interviewer)“I’m kinda trying to listen about the draft. Is Connor McDavid the best prospect you’ve ever seen?” (Marek) “Yup, going away . . . going away. And you know . . . ” (Interviewer) “Even better than Sidney Crosby?” (Marek) “Better than Sidney Crosby? Yah every time. Now I’m not saying as an NHL’er, in his career he’ll be better than Sidney Crosby. We don’t know. He hasn’t played one NHL shift. But coming out of junior I saw plenty of Sidney, specifically in that lock-out year of 2005 with his Rimouski Oceanic taking London to the final of the Memorial Cup. I’ve watched Crosby a ton in Junior. I’ve seen all of McDavid’s career, going back to his minor midget AAA days with the Toronto Marlboroughs, a really stacked team with Sam Bennet on it . . . aah . . . He’s the best prospect I’ve ever seen ! In a lot of ways, I made this point before . . . we’ve been waiting since 2005, when the NHL completely re-did the rules package, and CHANGED all of hockey! I mean all the rule changes that the NHL made, which were to increase skill, to put a premium on skating, put a premium on stickhandling, and really focus in on, you know the skills of the game, when that changed, that trickled down to all organizations. That went down to division one, NCAA, that went to the CHL, that went down to to all the (aah) junior (aah) leaques across North America. The game changed, not just for the NHL, but the game changed for everybody. And since then we’ve been waiting for the one superstar to emerge who grew up with this rule package. Who grew up not having to break old habits and learn the game anew, but had just known . . . you know, the only thing that this person has known is this is how you play hockey. And that guy is Connor McDavid. We’ve seen some players now start to break through, and marvel at their skill, but we have been waiting for one superstar to come in under this rules umbrella. And that guy is Connor McDavid. The skills that he possesses will blow you away when you watch him live. Nobody does more with speedwork than Connor McDavid, his hands are some of the best I’ve ever seen . . . aah . . . I’d still like to see him shooting more, but I’m nitpicking now . . . aah . . . the way he sees the ice, the way sees the game . . . and you talk to countless scouts and they’ll come back to this idea, and Wayne Gretzky has it but no one since, he has what people always called the 2 second advantage, which is, the player is able to see what’s going to happen on the play 2 seconds before it does. Gretzky had that going back to when he first put on a pair of skates and picked up a hockey stick. The only other player that I’ve seen who plays like that, have that 2 second advantage, is Connor McDavid. He’s nothing short of remarkable. I know it sounds like I’m saying that . . . the next thing I’m going to say that he invented oxygen too . . . “ (a laugh from the interviewer) . . . “but really Nick’ when you see his guy live, I’m not sure you have” “Ah no, I haven’t” “when you see this guy live your jaw going to drop.” (Interviewer) “Yah with everything I’ve read and watched on TV, he’s going to be an amazing prospect, or player in the NHL”

    Enjoy (at least I did)

    If you want to listen to it – https://soundcloud.com/nesn-com/nhl-draft-connor-mcdavid-compared-to-sidney-crosby-bruins-draft-prospects

    • Ndustry

      I agree Dave , lowetide is trolling for issues so he and his buddies all can moan about Marincin or how we will lose our garbage defencemen to other teams who I am sure are desperate for our AHL defencemen after all we did have the WORST D in the league last year which makes our guys soooo valuable…LOL