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Round two Davy

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.

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.

Round two

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?

Feb 28, 2017; St. Louis, MO, USA; Edmonton Oilers goalie Cam Talbot (33) covers the puck as defenseman Darnell Nurse (25) checks St. Louis Blues center Jori Lehtera (12) and defenseman Eric Gryba (62) checks left wing Jaden Schwartz (17) during the third period at Scottrade Center. The Oilers won 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

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

Gryba

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!

    • Dan 1919

      Gryba generated 2 goals last night and plays a hard game. Sure he’s no Allstar but I think he’s done his job considerably well for the last few years… a depth dman. With Davidson coming back, it’s pretty safe to say Gryba will be the 8th dman. Which unfortunately in the NHL, always seem to find playing time at some stretch in the season as it’s not that uncommon for 2 top 6 guys to be out at the same time. I still don’t mind having Gryba around as a depth guy, that’s if another team doesn’t want him as their 7th guy because I think he’ll be heading into waiver territory now?

  • Finnaggled

    I feel like the author maybe had a few brewsters beers before writing this one…a bit disjointed and tough to read. I do agree however that Davy back is a positive for the team.

  • Dan 1919

    (Reposting)
    A solid mobile group once everyone is healthy with strong competition. Really #7 could change on any given night depending on who’s slumping:
    [L] Nurse – [R] Larson
    [L] Klefbom- [L] Sekera
    [L] Russell – [R] Benning
    [L] Davidson

    Still heavy on Left shooters however. But I think every NHL team could use a top 4 RH-D.

  • Oilman99

    I don’t see any choice other than to start Ellis on Wednesday. He out performed Broisoit in the Bake least year,and has done well again this year. We need to find out if he can give some stability to the position. The way it is now, the team can’t even think about going on the offence because th can’t afford to give up a shot on net.

    • Dean S

      Nick Ellis, deserves an opportunity. He outplayed LB last year at Bakersfield. He was better than Talbot and LB in
      pre-season. He has had a very good year this year in AHL.

  • Pouzar99

    2 points. First, Davidson is a legitimate third pairing D man, which can’t be said of either Gryba or Auvitu. The game has speeded up and Gryba has slowed down and gets walked by every fast skating forward in the league. Auvitu can skate and pass the puck but he is terrible defensively. Remember Boston’s second goal last week? That may be the worst play by a D man in Oiler history.
    2. Davidson “tangled with Matthew Tkachuk behind the net resulting in a shoulder injury.” Huh? Try Matthew Tkachuk came from behind Davidson and slew-footed him resulting in a shoulder injury. Why sugar coat a flagrantly dirty play? I expect to see Davidson in the starting lineup against Philadelphia with Auvitu on the bench, because Gryba’s size and agressiveness make him a better fit against the nasty Flyers.

  • SEHockey

    Both Auvitu and Gryba need to do serious homework. Both have very good skills, but their skillset is limited, and their “downside” hurts. At the current Oilers, where only Nurse and somehow Larsson are consistently performing in the top 4…the 5th and 6th d-men need to be at a higher level. We can see a very clear progression in Auvitu, but his defensive moves and positioning need serious work. Gryba has been lethargic the whole season, and just “woke up” (nice to see him active last game), and he will need to add a lot of dynamism to his game. It is up to them to bring themselves to the level.

  • Shredder

    How is there a “bottom 6” on defense – the entire defense corps is 6 guys. Bottom “of” the 6? Maybe that makes sense. When I hear “bottom 6” I think of the 3rd and 4th line forwards. That’s 6 guys at the bottom end of the lineup. Makes sense to me. On defense, in my mind, there’s bottom pair, there’s top 4, top pair, extra dman, but that’s about all you need to describe positions on defense. Get rid of “bottom 6” as a descriptor for defense right now.

  • Hockycrazed

    Hate to crash the band wagon, but I think that the team is playing poorly to start the season, because of a few reasons: 1) Their top guns are not up to their utmost abilities, consistently, 2) Talbot has regressed (although, team defence might have contributed to the break down, it’s debatable) 3)Todd, also made a few mistakes in dispatching his squads in games, he also didn’t following his own beliefs in playing the best individual players, instead follow too much on his instincts.
    There are different reasons, sometimes, for anyone to ‘underperform’, one is being distracted by side jobs, take tennis hopefuls that never pan out, Carling Bassett, Jennifer Capriati and most recently Eugenie Bouchard, soon as they start appearing more on commercials, their performance dipped! But, theses athletes are individual sports stars, they alone are responsible for their actions! In team sports such as Hockey, you would think that there will be more restrictions from team policies to prohibit players from straying too far, considering the amount of salaries were invested in them. I definitely think there is a link between poorer performance and side interests. right?