When the rules for the Vegas Golden Knights expansion draft were announced last year a lot of people had pencilled Brandon Davidson as the Oiler that would most likely be claimed if left exposed. Fearing that they would lose him for nothing the Oilers moved him at the trade deadline for an array of reasons. Today the Oilers brought back the steady 6’2 202-pound defender.
— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) December 3, 2017
Couldn’t catch a break
He had a breakout year before during the 2015-2016 season, posting a respectable 11 points (4G,7A) in 51 games played. The sixth round diamond in the rough was a nice addition to d-corps averaging 19:12 minutes a game.
He was expected to carry that into the following season. However, Davidson suffered a nasty concussion during the preseason; Los Angeles Kings forward Tanner Pearson went head hunting. Davy returned to the Oilers line up shortly before the middle of October but suffered another setback, he tangled with Matthew Tkachuk behind the net resulting in a shoulder injury. When he was almost ready to return he re-injured his shoulder, he was out a total of two months. The hockey gods definitely weren’t on Davidson’s side last year.
Benning stepped up
Two months is a lot of games to have to sit out, Matthew Benning took advantage of the time by stepping up to the plate. In Oilers fashion Benning was thrown into the bottom six role, he handled it well. He was cautious with the puck and showed that he could be the defender that we needed to jump into that open hole. He averaged 16:49 minutes a game during the 22 games he played in that Davidson was absent. He had four assists, six penalty minutes, and was plus four.
Odd man out
As I stated earlier, there were a lot of reasons that Davidson was dealt at the trade deadline last season. In the 27 games, he played after returning to the lineup he only averaged 15:41 minutes of ice time. He had a lone assist, was a plus two and had 16 penalty minutes. If you left a steady defender like that exposed at the expansion draft, I’m sure he would be snapped up in no time. While I was bummed because I’m a big Davidson fan, the Oilers made the smart move to part ways with him and picked up an asset for a playoff run; we were in need of a third line centre.
Yesterday it was announced that Davidson was being placed on waivers, everyone knew that there was no way he would make it to the AHL. I’m surprised that the Habs let him go, their blueline is a bit of a mess at the moment. In a perfect world, Jordie Benn would not be the top pairing with Shea Weber. Regardless, I’m happy Davidson is back free of cost.
What happens next?
Davidson’s return leaves a couple of questions though. What’s going to happen to our defence and contracts situation?
Edmonton’s NHL pairings look something like this (depending on the night):
Nurse – Larsson
Klefbom – Benning
Auvitu – Russell
With Larsson on the injured reserve, I don’t see a move happening anytime soon until that’s sorted out. Out of these seven guys I think the one guy looking on the outside in has to be Gryba, he has been terrible this season. I hope we keep Auvitu around at least a little longer, he was an offensive machine in Europe and is starting to find his stride in North America. I don’t see him being in Edmonton once Sekera is back though now that Davidson is here.
As for the contracts situation, I’m not sure what was running through Chiarelli’s head last July when he went out and loaded up on AHL defenders, but it has created a bit of a problem now. Do the Oilers really need a Ryan Stanton or Keegan Lowe in the pipelines? No, but in Chiarelli’s defence, it adds depth. Those two guys are options to ship out contracts and get us down for some flexibility.
What do you think Davidson will mean to the d-pairings? Who do you think will get knocked out? Share your thoughts with me below!