Brandon Davidson (photo by Rob Ferguson, all rights reserved) was taken in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, No. 162 overall. By that time on draft day, it’s down to scouts, doubts and cleaning staff, as the NHL’s summer holidays are about to begin for the amateur procurement department. Why should we care about sixth round picks? They matter, and as the salary cap sends more of the money to impact players, those late picks will matter even more.
Mike Remmerde: “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 fifth round, I might be interested.”
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.
Stu MacGregor after the draft: “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.”
Wow. After years of reading scouting reports for No. 1 overalls, it’s interesting to go back and read the verbal surrounding a depth pick. Remmerde (long ago hired away by the industry) identifies him as a player of interest a round earlier than Davidson ended up going. MacGregor talks about his puck moving ability, as does Remmerde. Red Line, the hardest marker among any of the scouting services, let their guard down for an instant because of Davidson’s back story. Those scouting reports are over five years old now, and Davidson—who is getting a real NHL shot under a new coach—has worked hard to take those patches of skill and positives and iron out the wrinkles and wobbly bits.
The crazy thing? We still don’t know. Outside of the first round, maybe the second, it’s all a crapshoot and even though Davidson revealed himself to be a person of high character and strength early on, we still don’t know.
Davidson: “It was an emotional thing. It was hard to get back
mentally and physically. The chemotherapy drained me physically. But to
come back and even have the opportunity to play last year was
great, because I thought I was done for the year. It was great to come
back at the end of the year and prove that I belong. It was a good end
to the season for me personally, just being able to play so well.” Source
NOTHING’S GONNA STOP US NOW
Davidson has some things to recommend him, but has never, at any time, been a slam dunk NHL option. In the AHL, he showed steady progress and in the NHL looks, he displayed a nice range of skills. He’s a good skater, has an
aggressive nature and battled hard to win the puck along the wall.
Without the puck, Davidson does a lot of things well. He has NHL
size—6.02, 214—although well short of being a giant. In recent NHL games, Davidson’s shot has found the twine—and now everyone is raving about his shot! We’ll see, but what a terrific story.
There’s a 15.8%
chance a player chosen in this round plays 100 NHL games—which sounds
like ‘why bother?’ but some exceptional players were taken this late.
Among Oiler sixth-round draft picks 2000+ who have played 100 games, we can count no
one. The last Oilers selection from the sixth round to play 100 games?
Anatoli Semenov, 1989. It’s been awhile.
That said, Brandon Davidson doesn’t know or care about 15.8% or 100 NHL games or Anatoli Semenov. This is about reaching a goal, getting the chance, and making the grade.
Brandon Davidson, NHL player. This may be happening as we speak. Patience.