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?
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
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:
- Andrej Sekera
- Nikita Nikitin
- Justin Schultz
- Mark Fayne
- Andrew Ference
- Eric Gryba
- Brandon Davidson
- 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.