Davidson: An excellent signing

Davidson

Peter Chiarelli signed Brandon Davidson to a two-year extension this morning worth $1.425 million/year. Based on Davidson’s play it is an incredible value signing.

Davidson has been the Oilers most consistent defender all season.

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Davidson has 5-6-11 and is a team-best +6 in 47 games. Since Oscar Klefbom went down with injury, Davidson’s minutes have increased, but his play hasn’t dropped. One could argue he’s played better since getting more responsibility.

It is a refreshing change to see the Oilers have a defenceman who will play above his pay scale. During the Decade of Darkness we’ve see far too many defenders underachieve. Regardless of what they were paid, too many simply did not perform well.

 I won’t list the names of D-men the previous regime signed at prices they could never live up to and put you through the horror of re-visiting them. But it seems possible the Oilers are done with paying players who can’t live up to their contracts. I sure hope so.

When the Oilers signed Oscar Klefbom to a seven year extension worth $4.16 million/year I thought it was a very good signing. I still do. Klefbom is an excellent defender, and the only concern with him is can he play a full season.

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You can’t train to prevent broken hands or a staph infection, so I’m not saying he is injury-prone, just pointing out that in junior, the AHL and in the NHL he has only had one year where he played 90% of the games. For his sake I hope his string of bad luck is over.

Klefbom will be 23 when his seven-year deal begins, and I’ll be surprised if he isn’t considered a great value through the entire term.

Davidson’s extension is outstanding value based on his play and how much faith Todd McLellan and Jim Johnson have in him.

I took a look at Davidson’s first 60 NHL games (59 to be exact) and compared them to Klefbom’s. **I’m not saying Klefbom is overpaid, I’m trying to illustrate why Davidson is such a bargain.**

Klefbom first 60 games: 3-12-15 and -27

Davidson first 59 games: 5-6-11 and +1

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Klefbom averaged about four minutes more TOI per game.

At EV, Davidson was paired the most with Eric Gryba, 283 minutes, Justin Schultz for 138, Keith Aulie 80, Oscar Klefbom 77 and Sekera 72.

Klefbom played mainly with Schultz, 65% of his is EV minutes, and Fayne was next at 16%.

Klefbom was younger and had to play mainly with a defender who was struggling. I believe Klefbom earned his extension, but after 60 games played Davidson is trending closely to the play of Klefbom, yet Chiarelli was able to sign him to a very cap-friendly salary of $1.425 million.

With the Oilers potentially having rookie “overages” issues the next few seasons, having a value contract among your top-four defenders is huge.

At this point I’d rank Davidson ahead of Darnell Nurse, which is great, because it means the Oilers can protect Nurse next season and let him get comfortable as a third pairing defender.

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The most attractive aspect of Davidson’s game is even while the team struggled the past month, his individual play did not wane. His confidence didn’t dip, and one could argue it grew despite the struggles around him. He’s proven he is mentally strong, and during the next two seasons it will be difficult to find a better “bang for your buck” on the Oilers than Davidson.

QUICK HITS..

Speedbag

  • The Oilers also signed Laurent Brossoit to a two-year extension. It is a one-way deal meaning he’ll be paid NHL money whether he is in the NHL or the AHL. His cap hit is $750,000 and he’ll make $650,000 next season and $850,000 in 2017/2018. This is another solid signing, and I’m curious to see what the Oilers do with Brossoit next year. He doesn’t need waivers next year, so he could still start in Bakersfield if they believe that is better for his development than playing 20-25 games in the NHL.
  • Jordan Oesterle and Jujhar Khaira were re-assigned to Bakersfield today and both will be eligible for the AHL playoffs. It is interesting that they haven’t placed Brossoit on waivers yet. It would be odd if he wasn’t re-assigned, just for one day, so the could be eligible for the post season.
  • As I wrote last night, I expected the Oilers to put in some waiver claims and they did. The Oilers have claimed forward Adam Cracknell and  defender Adam Pardy on waivers.

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  • RomZ

    I’ll admit I thought Davidson should have been sent down in the earlier parts of the season. I am glad I was wrong. He has been the biggest bright spot in what is another terrible season for the Oilers.

    This guy has been a fighter all his life, battling at every single level of hockey he’s played at, to battling cancer.

    What a great story he continues to be.

  • Oliveoiler

    Wonderful news, congrats Brandon and thank you to the Oilers’ organization in making probably one of the smartest moves in years! Also congrats to LB and welcome to the double Adams!

  • Will

    Hurray! Oilers acquire yet another left shot D man!

    Nice to hear about the Davidson extension though. It was rough hearing trade proposals this week where Davidson was thrown in as a kicker.

    The more I look at it, the more it really, really, really looks like they need to trade one of Klefbom, Nurse, or Davidson for a right shot D man.

    Yes, you can shift Sekera over to the right side, but given how much better he plays on the left, why would you want to?

    I also firmly believe that one of those three above will indeed develop into the top line D man the Oilers have been needing since Pronger left.

    I think given how similar Klefbom and Davidson’s games are (low event, cycle breaking, with some offensive upside) you trade one of them for a guy like Hamonic. And while I believe Nurse is not quite as good as them right now, his skating, size, and mean streak give him a skill set that is badly needed on this team.

    Despite having 3 very good centres and a glut of small skilled wingers, the Oilers’ true position of strength is in quality left shot D men.

    Sekera, Klefbom, Nurse, Davidson, Reinheart, LaLeggia, Leggason, Musil, and now Pardy.

    It will be sad to lose one, but they have to do it to make the team, and the back end better.

    • crabman

      Being a team that needs Dmen I don’t see the logic tradeing a top 4 like Klefbom for another top 4. We need to add not move sideways. And I don’t think Davidson brings back the player we need. That leaves Nurse and his potential as a trade chip but I doubt anyone wants to see him go since he is the big, fast, mean D we’ve been waiting for. I would consider trading Nurse if he brought back the RHD we need today but he would need to be a true #1 other wise trade a winger. If we keep the 1st round pick we will be getting a big skilled forward which we also need.
      Lastly I don’t put as much stock in RHD LHD. Davidson has spent lots of time on the right side in the AHL so has Musil. Sekera has played lots on the right and Klefbom played top pair right side for sweeden in the WHC last year and played well. I think it is more important to build a strong D and worry about the handness after. If all things are equal then you start to consider which way a player shoots but it isn’t the end all.

      • S cottV

        More to the LH / RH d balance than maybe you think.

        Sure – because there are simply left handers than right handers, some guys have to slide to the off side, but it’s something you would like to avoid if at all possible.

        It’s very difficult to a make and take d to d passes on your offside, in your own end, off the end boards, in regrouping situations and on the point re passes and to seal off a pinch along the boards.

        It’s hard on your d partner, having to take additional time to make sure a pass is made, that can be handled to an off handed partner.

        Even if you get a decent d to d pass in your own zone, now you have to outlet the puck, with fore checking that would be directed to take you wide, to your back hand. Very difficult – compared to a forehand pass.

        If you need to clear the puck off the glass and out – on your backhand, facing the pressure of a possible penalty – it’s very tough.

        So – I could see the excess left hand situation, being “part” of the solution toward higher end right hand d men.

        It would also erase the need to throw an extra right hand forward – out on the power play.

        • crabman

          I get the argument for a balance between RHD and LHD but we are talking about top 4 Dmen in the best league in the world. The 240 most skilled men aged 18-35 in the entire world. I would take 4 LHD who are top 4 skill than 2 top 4 LHD and 2 bottom 6 RHD playing over their head. I agree that Ideally we have a balanced D but I want the best players available first.
          I’m not against trading our D but would prefer to see a forward go first. Ofcourse if a trade that really works for us comes our way you do it no matter who goes the other way.

          • S cottV

            I would agree that any upper end rh d man like Harmonic, will likely take one of the $6mm contracts to pull off.

            If there’s a package involved – the excess left handers may have to be part of it.

          • crabman

            And that I could get on board with although I’m holding out hope for a package that brings in a true top D. Someone who can play 25+ minutes and QB the pp. Not sure that will be available though.

  • Love both this and the Brossoit re-signings. Great value for both. Neither have stupidly unrealistic contracts to live up to… both have motivation to play hard to get a good deal after this contract is up. What’s not to like here?

    Also, whomever is responsible for scouting/drafting Davidson needs more say in the whole draft process! 6th rounder!?

  • shaner

    What do pardy and cracknell add? (Not being a smart ass)

    I imagine cracknell is a 12/13 forward and pardy a 7 d, but why did we claim them? Just so we can send down our call ups for a playoff run in bakersfield

  • Little Buttcheeks

    Davidson is the most pleasant surprise this season. He seems to be jumping into the play a little bit more lately and has more to give offensively. This is a tremendous value deal.

    • fasteddy

      I was excited to watch Jones with Portland recently, knowing he was a RD….but a little dissapointed to see he’s a left shot playing the right side. Looked pretty decent though.

  • Rob...

    On a scale from A to Z, what colour is his Norris Potential? I hear it might be as high as Potato. I’m asking for a friend.

    In all seriousness, it’s a great signing. If they can sign Gryba to a 5-6D type salary extension I’d be happy with that as well.

  • TyeDye

    God I hope we hold onto Gryba! He’s a great 5-6 Dman. I think he plays better than most think. He might even play better than he thinks! Cheap and good 5 or 6 Dman I think.

  • MorningOwl

    Oilers may not have gotten “better” through a skill upgrade, but they got bigger, without giving anything up skill wise, so in that way, they did get better.

    plus, they have brought in guys who have to fight and give 110% every night to remain in the NHL – this alone adds pressure to a dressing room where talent and draft pedigree have been used to mask lack of effort, laziness, and a quit-when-behind attitude.

    these bigger guys add a lot – size, honest effort, attitude. I actually look at this as good moves for the Oilers, who, due to market realities and trade deadline realities, were not in a position to do a lot. Expect Chia will make some strong moves at the draft, when he can actually leverage some of the talent, and make more upgrades.

    All in all, while not splashy, Oilers are making moves that at least seem to make sense.