Brandon Davidson has overcome a lot in his young life, so if you’re betting against him prepare for a thinner wallet. That said, the Edmonton Oilers depth chart on blue has a tremendous amount of competition:
- D Andrej Sekera (Oilers needed him badly, he’s an outstanding addition)
- D Mark Fayne (Should flourish under McLellan, take on bigger role on team)
- D Oscar Klefbom (Talented blue, range of skills, McLellan has a real talent here)
- D Justin Schultz (Training, working hard, McLellan could do wonders for him)
- D Nikita Nikitin (Pressure will be on, hopefully he’s healthy, back stands up all year)
- D Eric Gryba (Tough, defense-first addition. Oilers clearly felt a need)
- D Andrew Ference (This may be a tough year for the captain. Pressure is on)
- D Griffin Reinhart (Big, strong defender close to NHL-ready or already there)
- D Darnell Nurse (I remain convinced he makes the team)
- D Brandon Davidson (Inexpensive defender, NHL option)
- D Jordan Oesterle (He could flourish under McLellan)
- D David Musil (Stay-at-home D continues to matriculate. I think he’ll make it)
- D Brad Hunt (NHL recall option depending on who is hurt/struggling)
- D Dillon Simpson (Looking for him to move up the AHL depth chart in 15-16)
- D Martin Gernat (Should ask for bigger font on his name bar in effort to get noticed)
- D Ben Betker (Big, strong, pretty fast. Raw, interesting blue
- D Joey Laleggia (First question: Exactly how much offense does he generate?)
Davidson is right in the middle there, and he’s waiver eligible. Three players listed above him (Oscar Klefbom, Griffin Reinhart, Darnell Nurse) aren’t waiver eligible and there’s a chance both Reinhart and Nurse start in Bakersfield (Reinhart for cap issues, Nurse because the Oilers may have decided to send him to the AHL no matter how good he is in TC). Even with both men heading to the minors, Davidson would rank No. 8 on the depth chart, meaning the Oilers would have to carry an extra blue (possible) or manufacture an injury (this could happen for sure).
This is Eric Rodgers’ work, I’m publishing again to remind that Davidson was money at even strength a year ago. Klefbom was on a different level but among AHL regulars Davidson’s 42-32 carried the day at evens.
BRANDON DAVIDSON BAKERSFIELD RE 2015-16: 60GP, 4-9-13 .217
BRANDON DAVIDSON RE 2015-16: 9GP, 0-1-1 .111
- Is there a significant danger he would be claimed on waivers? Most teams have a similar player, so the danger isn’t high. The issue comes if you don’t have a replacement.
- If the Oilers lose Davidson to waivers and someone gets hurt the next day, is there enough depth? Yes. The gap between Davidson and a player like David Musil is enough to establish a clear order in the depth chart but the Oilers wouldn’t have to go out and make a trade. Considering Griffin Reinhart and Darnell Nurse might be in Bakersfield at that time, it could cull the herd and clear up the issue of first recall.
- Could he have an NHL career? Yes, I think so. As a depth defender, who could chip in and make the minimum (he’s at $585,000)—there is value. The problem of course is that someone is going to come along and take their job eventually, so most of these player-types become journeymen.
- If the choice came down to Niki Nikitin or Brandon Davidson to put on waivers before opening night, who do they choose? If Nikitin is healthy, Davidson is on waivers. He is more established and can do more things.
- What role will he play in Bakersfield? Veteran leader on defense, facing the toughest challenges and mentoring youth (even though he is also young).
- What does he need to work on? Davidson needs NHL experience, doesn’t mean he’s going to get it.
- What is the best thing about him? A good player, he can play a secondary role and be happy with it.
- What is the one thing that will keep him from the NHL? Talent. He’s a little shy on it is all but can be useful to an NHL team.
- Will he be on waivers in the fall? Based on current circumstances, there is no doubt.