FIVE YEARS LATER, AN OVERNIGHT SENSATION

davidson ferguson 14-15 nov

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.

SCOUTING REPORTS

  • 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.

NOVEMBER 2012

davidson cancer

  • 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.

  • YFC Prez

    Oilers could use 1 or 2 of those ” where the heck did he come from ” players.

    I’ve liked Davidsons game this call up. I’m hoping it works for him. And that shot, Lordy that shot.

  • The Soup Fascist

    You can’t help but pull for the kid and he has scored on a couple of nice blasts this year.

    However, his skating definitely was exposed last night. Granted, Crosby and Malkin are not run of the mill forwards, but there is a lot of work to do before I would consider him a bona fide NHL defenseman.

    Cheering like hell for Davidson, given all that he has had to overcome, but can the Oilers win if a Brandon Davidson is playing in more than a 6/7 role?

  • YFC Prez

    Drafting and development of prospects is a key success factor for the Oil and any progressive NHL team. This is an element that has been missing most of the last decade. The year the Oil did not have a an AHL team was an pathetic failure. Kim Jong should have been fired for that one big mistake alone.

    • Just a Fan

      You are being revisionist. Kevin Lowe in not responsible for the minor league system until he was promoted to Pesident of Hockey Operations. In fact restoring the AHL team is on of the first things he did. He made a ton o mistakes but this is not one of them.

      • Harry2

        That decision was made by the last ownership group to save money. You want the primary reason for the Oilers being so bad that is it! Give Mr Katz credit for a change. He and Lowe have done a great job building the farm system with not 1 but 2 teams. Also moving the team to Bakersfield makes it much easier to move players up or down as there are many direct flights to LA.

    • pkam

      So you know it is Lowe’s decision to shutdown the farm? I guess Lowe should fund its operation with his own money because this is the GM’s responsibility, right?

      The fact is Lowe always believes in having a farm team and he is the Oilers who push for it after Katz purchased the team.

      I don’t think it would be hard to find something if you want to blame Lowe, but don’t choose something not only he is not guilty for, but should get credit for.

    • Soiled Trousers

      You would be hard pressed to find anyone on this site who hates Lowe more than I do. I’m willing to blame him for almost anything. I’m pretty sure he is somehow responsible for global warming and the price of Oil but even I can’t blame him for the lack of an AHL team.

  • TheBirdOfAnger

    Brandon Davidson, “The Heart Of A Lion”, is a keeper. Determined. Winner. Inspiring. Confidant. Believer. Fighter. All he needs to do is keep on keeping on. He is showing great promise and making tons of fans. He’s keeping veterans in the press box.

  • camdog

    It’s just nice to have somebody capable of actually shooting a slap shot from the point. The Oilers have been looking for a shot since Souray left the team.

    It’s nice to have a veteran coach that was willing to bench a veteran (Fayne) and give the kid a chance. I don’t know if this would have happened last season.

  • Just a Fan

    Saw him good last year………and this continues to this year. What a great story, a better person than anyone could expect, and an even better hockey player.

    When you join a hockey team that is losing, it’s very hard to look like a winner, bust somehow Davidson has done that.

    Hope the OIler reward this guy with a long term contract.

    • Randaman

      I really like Davidson but let’s hold off on the long term extension talk for a while yet!

      Knee jerk reactions/contracts are exactly what we have to avoid in the cap world NHL

      • Randaman

        “Knee Jerk contracts”?…………you mean the ones that brought us the likes of Niki Nikitin, Mark Fayne, Andrew Ference, etc ?

        Yea those well though out contracts are what is hurting us,……….. not offering players like Petry and Davidson contract is pure stupidity!!!!!!

        Just how many time does one need to see a player to realize he is either a benefit or a liability? I say he is a benefit and has proven himself capable through extreme adversity………good enough for me!

        • Randaman

          I didn’t say we should not offer him a contract. I just pointed out that we have time to get a better read as to term and amount because he is a RFA under our control.

          What happened with the past management team has no relavance, does it?

          Get out of the past. Petry is gone, get over it.

          It has no bearing on this player. Neither does Nikitin or Ference.

          • Randaman

            YES IT DOES !!!

            It highlights the fact the Oilers management is unable to recognize our own talent ( despite many looks) but not afraid to offer other teams players long-term contracts.

            Do you really think that Andres Suckera is better than Brandson Davidson?? Suckera looks NOTHING like a 6 Million dollar player and has been outplayed by Davidson almost every game!

            Are you watching any of the games????

          • Randaman

            Yes, I watch every game and drove 700 miles to attend the Calgary game.

            I didn’t realize we were using Sekera as a comparison until you threw that in.

            Sekera has underperformed to be sure and Davidson has played well. I never argued that point.

            What I am arguing is that past management has nothing to do with Chirelli or McLellan and there outlook on who to sign.

            Sekera will come around in my view. New team, system, surroundings, etc.

            Please try to not be condensending in your next reply.

          • MKE

            Is it not PC that brough in Sekera? Or for that matter Eric Gryba ( whom I like as a 5/6 defenceman) ?

            I’m glad that Mcllelan is giving Brandon a good chance to prove himself…….and I believe he will respond……I see him being a good 3/4 guy with that shot of his.

            Based on comments from Todd Nelson and others……..this guy is a NHL defenceman. In my mind Bridge contracts never work……..pay less now, overpay later.

            BTW, I’m not trying to be condesending in my posts……..my style or writing may appear that way, but it’s not my intent.

  • pkam

    Couldn’t afford AAA hockey…. good on you Mr. Davidson. Hard work pays off. However many games he ends up playing, he made it the show and that can never be taken away. He’s adapting and showing well. Cheering for him in this corner.

  • Randaman

    With the Oilers record for drafting beyond the first round last 25 years , they would be better off trading them all away for some decent complimentary players , etc. .

  • MKE

    I was one of those people who wondered why on earth the oilers kept this guy around on the opening day roster. I never thought this guy could do it.

    Brandon im so glad i was so very wrong about you. Im glad Oilers management saw something in you and kept you around. I hope you turn into a dominate force for this team and continue to prove people wrong. I hope you inspire many while you are at it.

    Count me as one of your fans. I was planning to buy a McDavid jersey. But after seeing what you are bringing to the table i will buy your jersey and wear it with pride. Keep it up. And i pray you are one of many plesent surprises in the next 5 years for this team.

  • Randaman

    Little less skill, but determination and hard ,never quit work, I’ll take any day over some of the floaters on this team….. Schultz,Purcell,Sekera, and yes even Pouliot.

  • Randaman

    The Oilers play the Pens in a couple of weeks. Everyone saw Manning grabbed McDavid on a questionable play.

    It doesn’t matter if it was a penalty or not his actions resulted in McDavid going into the boards. Manning has to be responsible with his hand on McDavid just like a player must be responsible for his high stick.

    If the Oilers are to jell as a team them must make Manning pay for his actions next game.

    We will see if the Oilers stick up for one another or just let it go.

  • Just a Fan

    I regularly attend the annual Penticton tournament. I thought Davidson was a standout…..and I’m a Flames fan but couldn’t help notice this kid and his skill set.