OILERS NO. 8 PROSPECT (winter 2015): BRANDON DAVIDSON

by Lowetide

Brandon Davidson was taken in the bowels of the 2010 entry draft and despite a famous back story and incredible obstacles overcome since then, was not perceived as being a front line talent. As recently as this summer, his lot in life appeared to be as a fringe prospect. What happened? Well, in one of those stories that appears too good to be true (but we have witnessed), Brandon Davidson has emerged as a bona fide NHL prospect of some promise. Why do I have him No. 8 overall on the Winter List? I had no choice. He belongs here.

PREVIOUSLY NO. 8 ON THE WINTER LIST

  • December 2004: D Matt Greene (589)
  • December 2005: D Tom Gilbert (614)
  • December 2006: L Alexei Mikhnov (2)
  • December 2007: L Slava Trukhno (0)
  • December 2008: C Chris VandeVelde (139)
  • December 2009: D Taylor Chorney (79)
  • December 2010: L Linus Omark (79)
  • December 2011: L Curtis Hamilton (1)
  • December 2012: D David Musil (4)
  • December 2013: D Dillon Simpson (0)
  • December 2014: D Dillon Simpson (0)

The two defensemen who were prospects one decade ago stand out on this list, and many of those 1,200 NHL games have been played for other NHL teams. There’s a lesson there. Chris Vande Velde and Taylor Chorney have won NHL careers in the ‘hey, look at that’ category and recent entries are still writing their own stories.

davidson3

WHAT THEY SAID ON DRAFT DAY

  • 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.
  • 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 5th round, I might be interested.
  • ISS: Davidson was listed by the Pats after last seasons Mac’s Midget Tournament. He has not missed a beat and has added some offensive flair to the Pat d-core. He moves the puck very well and is a key contributor to the PP. He has great mobility and vision with the puck. He has made an easy and smooth transition from Midget AAA to the WHL. Not often is there an 18 yr old rookie who has the impact that Davidson has had this season.

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

PREVIOUS RANKINGS

  • Summer 2010: Not Ranked
  • Winter 2010: No. 18
  • Summer 2011: No. 16
  • Winter 2011: No. 15
  • Summer 2012: No. 21
  • Winter 2012: No. 21
  • Summer 2013: No. 16
  • Winter 2013: No. 22
  • Summer 2014: No. 23
  • Winter 2014:  No. 21
  • Summer 2015: No. 24
  • Winter 2015: No. 8

This is Davidson’s first time inside the Top 10 prospects and he’s been eligible for 12. My list focuses on range of skills and prefers offensive players to defensive, so Davidson’s skill set is always going to be punished. His emergence this fall as a more complete player is part of his surge, but there’s also an element of his overall game that has me convinced (mostly) we’re dealing in a player who has been overlooked in the past. That said, my list over the years has seen ebbs and flows in terms of ranking, but the numbers nailed this player as a fringe type. Could he return to that level, making this ranking look silly a year or two from now? Absolutely. Still, the evidence is pretty impressive.

TURNING POINT

David Staples, Cult of Hockey (spring)In the first three games of the AHL playoffs, all OKC wins over the San Antonio Rampage, Davidson has played dominating two-way hockey and even been granted power play time in an interesting role, being asked to screen the goalie with his 6-foot, 2-inch, 215-pound frame. Source

2015-16

  • Brandon Davidson: “I’ve had to change my thought process, being in and out of the lineup as much as I have been. Patience is huge, especially for a guy who doesn’t have much patience. But at the same time it’s better for me here. It’s been tremendous. I’d much rather be here than Bakersfield. I’m learning more here every day than I ever have.” Source
  • Todd McLellan: “He’s practised well. He has size and he can skate. If he can retrieve pucks we can beat their forecheck, that’s all we’re going to ask of him.” Source
  • Lowetide, Nov. 2015: Brandon Davidson also has a nice range of skills, and the minor league experience so few of these young men get in the modern world. A cup of coffee in the ECHL and basically two full seasons in the AHL have given Davidson a chance to learn the trade. A lesson here, methinks. We should also allow for the usual ups and downs and agree that we don’t actually know what the Oilers have in Davidson. A very low draft pick (No. 162 in 2010, he’s the last NHL piece standing from the Lubo for Ryan Whitney deal) who has shown extremely well in limited play this year, one hopes we hold back from gushing too much and allow the young man to find his place on the roster. He’s 23 games into his NHL career folks. Early days indeed. Still, very encouraging and it behooves the Oilers to play him every night until he’s either established or finds his way to the pressbox due to his own play. 11GP, 2-2-4 and his 17:24 ranks him No. 8 among rookie defensemen in TOI. Source

2015-16 BOXCARS

  • 5×5 points per 60: 0.74 No. 3 among defensemen
  • 5×4 points per 60: 7.19 No. 2 among defensemen
  • Qual Comp: No. 5 among D’s
  • Qual Team: No. 2 among D’s
  • Corsi Rel: 13.9 No. 1 among D’s
  • Corsi for % 5×5: 55.6
  • Zone Start: 65.6
  • Shots on goal/percentage: 16/12.5
  • Boxcars: 12GP, 2-2-4 (projected to 73GP, 12-12-14 small sample size alert)

davidson wowy

THE FUTURE

I don’t know. I honestly can’t tell you what the future holds, and if I were to guess it would be only that and that’s not fair in this instance. The thing about Davidson isn’t the offensive spike, it’s the fact that he does so many things that are useful. He skates well, he has decent size, he can pass the puck or skate it out of danger and he can survive—that’s a big one, folks—at the NHL level without the experience he’ll gain if he continues to play well enough to stay in the lineup.

In a very real way, the Davidson ranking and the Nilsson ranking are very similar. In both cases, I started with these players well down the list of candidates and through their own efforts—and the struggles of others—they have arrived at this spot.

I do not give any extra credit for being close to NHL-ready. None. Brandon Davidson is No. 8 on merit, and I’m fully aware this could look ridiculous a year or even a month from now. The damndest thing, this.

THE 2010 DRAFT

  • Taylor Hall, No. 1 overall. THE best Oilers player in many years (until McDavid), Hall pushes the river and excites the masses. Cornerstone. Graduated.
  • Tyler Pitlick, No. 31 overall. Injuries and a lack of offense have curtailed his pro progress, but he’s still fighting for a position. A candidate for the Winter Top 20.
  • Martin Marincin,  No. 46 overall. No longer in the organization, approaching 100 NHL games. Graduated.
  • Curtis Hamilton, No. 48 overall. Injuries and ineffective play impacted him heavily. No longer in organization.
  • Ryan Martindale, No. 61 overall. Traded for Steve Pinizzotto, not a strong prospect at any time after his draft day. No longer in organization.
  • Jeremie Blain, No. 91 overall. Unsigned by Edmonton, he’s played in AHL and ECHL since turning pro. No longer in organization.
  • Tyler Bunz, No. 121  overall. Played in the ECHL and AHL since turning pro, played in one NHL game and no longer in organization.
  • Brandon Davidson, No. 162 overall. Overcame cancer and more, his arrows have taken an upward trajectory this fall. No. 8 prospect, Winter 2015.
  • Drew Czerwonka, No. 166 overall. Did not turn pro, no longer in hockey as an active player.
  • Kristians Pelss, No. 181 overall. We’ll remember you, Kristians Pelss. RIP.
  • Kellen Jones, No. 202 overall. Still an active player, just caught on with Bakersfield. No longer in organization beyond minor league connection.
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Mr DeBakey

“The Scouting Report” is the same as “The Red Line Report”
Have we had a copy/paste malfunction?

LadiesloveSmid

Edmonton 20th in the league in score adjusted 5v5 corsi, according to WOI. They were bottom 4 not long ago. McLellan starting to kick in? Defence starting to come together? Just wait until our boy Connor is back

RexLibris

Coffeys and Orrs and Karlssons are terrific.

Prongers and Lowes and Blakes are entertaining.

But the Davidsons are the ones coaches love because they can give a team 12 or 15 quiet minutes almost every night.

I personally think there’s more to come from this young player as yet. I think he graduates to become a top four on this team this year and is eventually pushed back down to a solid, dependable, can’t-believe-we’ve-got-this-guy 3rd pairing blueliner next season behind the thoroughbreds.

Until Nurse can settle his game down, Davidson even looks like a rational call on the second PP unit because he is calm, makes good decisions, can pass and shoot, and skates well enough to cover all but the fastest skaters if they get behind him.

Last player I can recall that gave me as much of a sense of security in this role?

I’ll have to think on that.

RexLibris

LadiesloveSmid:
Edmonton 20th in the league in score adjusted 5v5 corsi, according to WOI. They were bottom 4 not long ago. McLellan starting to kick in? Defence starting to come together? Just wait until our boy Connor is back

If they continue along the trend GMoney showed the other day, allowing for peaks and valleys here and there, they likely finish somewhere between 15th and 12th in 5v5 ScAdjCF%.

They could still be sunk by poor goaltending here and there and the usual growing pains of a team, but that Rogers Place debut is looking mighty good about now.

Bad Seed

How could you not pull for this kid? Coming from a destitute family, beating cancer, longshot draft pick. Talk about character.

travisdk

What do you think of attempting to trade for Justin Faulk?
Eberle+Fayne or Schultz? Take back a player they don’t want?

Or for OEL + 2nd round 2016
Hall + Schultz+ 1st round 2016?

Whether we like it or not the oilers need to look at cap issues in the future, Hall is the one player outside of Mcdavid that is going to cause us grief in this regard. Also gives Arizona a better opportunity to get their saviour Austin Matthews.

Tough pill to swallow on either trade, but it gets the team a number 1 defence man in which they need,

hunter1909

Hope Davidson plays 10 years in the NHL.

Material Elvis

travisdk:

Or for OEL + 2nd round 2016
Hall + Schultz+ 1st round 2016

Yer not from ’round here are ye.

Material Elvis

hunter1909:
Hope Davidson plays 10 years in the NHL.

Is she any relation to Brandon Davidson?

Loyal2theoil

Im hoping he makes it as an everyday player. It will be Taber’s second NHL player. Truly proud Taberite here. 🙂

Material Elvis

Loyal2theoil:
Im hoping he makes it as an everyday player. It will be Taber’s second NHL player. Truly proud Taberite here.

Was the other one Cornelius Kornhauser?

JAG-041

I’ll bet on this kid any day of the week. He’s a fighter.

LadiesloveSmid

Ziyat Paigin with yet another point in Sochi. One time blast.

http://video.khl.ru/quotes/325799

8P in 10GP with Sochi, 9P in 18GP

PaperDesigner

LadiesloveSmid:
Edmonton 20th in the league in score adjusted 5v5 corsi, according to WOI. They were bottom 4 not long ago. McLellan starting to kick in? Defence starting to come together? Just wait until our boy Connor is back

Pfft. If you think Connor’s going to make a dent, just wait until our boy Justin comes back to terrorize NHL forwards from our blue. The corgis won’t know what hit them.

Loyal2theoil

pocession charge,

Im a younger fellow so I was referring to Devon Setoguchi hahah

Armchair GM

Is Brandon Davidson a true ‘late bloomer’ or is he just a guy whose family circumstances didn’t allow him to access to the type of year ’round high performance hockey training that is a staple of so many developing players? With the same opportunities as others his same age, maybe he goes a lot higher in the draft. Considering the development time that he’s missed due to economics and health, his ceiling may be a lot higher than we are currently projecting. That slap shot of his is quite a surprise. I didn’t see any discussion of it at any point since he was drafted. Haven’t seen a weapon like that from an Oiler D since Souray patrolled the blueline. If he has success in getting that cannon through to goal, I can see him being a mainstay on the second pp. Too optimistic? Perhaps, but every time I look he’s doing something quietly impressive.

Mr. D.

Interesting if Gryba gets traded. I think Cherelli and Mcl like him but someone has to go. Even though the game has focused on possession I see the work in his own end something that was missing last year. The fact that his is a UFA will likely guide him out. There are just too many D. Not a great fan of hockey analytics but he is 3rd on the team for on ice goals for/60 min and second last on ice goals against /60 min.

dustrock

Lowetide: Really like Faulk, but Carolina is a better team than their record (much like Edmonton) and Faulk is an important part of the team.

It would take Hall to get Faulk, sorry.

flyfish1168

dustrock: It would take Hall to get Faulk, sorry.

I view Hall top 5 or 3 forwards in the league. I view Faulk just making the top 10 d-men maybe. I would never make this trade one for one. I do not have my Oilers glasses on. JMHO

jp

Davidson sure looks like he’s for real. What a find if he can keep it up!

With his OKC boxcars and all the talk about his defensive game I’d forgotten the pre draft talk about his offense. The kid can skate, shoot and pass the puck.

I’m rooting for him for a bunch of reasons.

Jesse

SPAM ALERT

Brand New episode of the Pod Marchant Toddcast. Listen if you’d like!
https://soundcloud.com/podmarchant/pod-marchant-toddcast-it-takes-a-lot-of-ball

RexLibris

Gmoney has mentioned xGoals before which is why this caught my eye:

Sapp Macintosh ‏@MacSapintosh 4h4 hours ago

at this point Flames almost certainly wheel spinning…and according to @DTMAboutHeart’s xG model have best chance at 1OV draft pick

I think this is far, far too early to call, but the Flames are trending towards missing the playoffs this year and the lottery almost favours a draft-order upset of the bottom three teams by those finishing higher.

GCW_69

Davidson is Jeff Petry-lite. Here’s to hoping that he is a rock on the third pair for the next ten years.

tcho

I was about to post that this might be Boudreau’s last game as head coach of the Ducks… and Corey Perry scores.

Bruce McCurdy

Bad Seed:
How could you not pull for this kid?Coming from a destitute family, beating cancer, longshot draft pick.Talk about character.

Not quite destitute, but in tough. This snippet from an interview I did with Davidson in 2011 gives some insights:

CoH: I heard tell that you missed some elite hockey growing up due possibly to financial circumstances? or what was the reason for that?

BD: Not financial circumstances exactly. I’m not an only child, I’ve got two other brothers, they’re playing hockey too, my parents each had a job, they were divorced …

CoH: It’s an expensive game!

BD: Yeah, it just wasn’t in the cards for me at the time. Maybe that has a little bit to say about my late blooming, it made me stronger, made me a better person.

I was impressed with this kid back then, & I remain impressed today. He’s done nothing but improve from that day to this. Humble, well-adjusted, focused, smart — he’s got a lot going on. Am rooting for him pretty hard, especially since the cancer scare but even before.

godot10

The other Todd has righted the ship in Grand Rapids. Always making lemonade out of lemons.

travisdk

pocession charge,

Ironically I am, but realize forwards can’t keep you 100% in games. We have 3 top centres, a good right winger, pouliot, and some wingers in the AHL. The D needs some experience that isn’t second pairing defensemen.

Hall is good and the most valuable outside of Mcdavid.

flyfish1168

Ducks have woken up. 2-2 Lets kick some F*&^%^ ugly phlegm butt.

Woodguy

The game that made me sit up and notice him was the CHI game in EDM last Wednesday.

He was paired with Griff against the defending Cup champs who come at you in waves.

He took charge of that pairing imo. He was Griff’s most common pass recipient and he often skated the puck out of danger from near the goal line.

I mentioned it on LT’s show the next day too (I’d link to it, but only hour 2 from that day is on the TSN1260 website)

His ability to skate with the puck and make the correct decisions with it at speed gives him a leg up on his competition. I was actually thinking “he probably looks like the player that Chiarelli thought he was trading for in Reinhart”

He and Reinhart finished that game with an impressive 65.22CF%, including going 5-0 against Toews in 3:31 and 6-1 vs Hossa in 3:36.

You have to think that no one in the org knew he was capable of this.

They wouldn’t have traded for Griff if they knew.

I’m rooting like hell for him and hope he doesn’t get lost in the shuffle when Schultz gets back.

My current Oiler depth chart looks like:

Sekera
Klef
Nurse
Fayne
Davidson
Schultz
Reinhart
Gryba

Bruce McCurdy

Armchair GM:
That slap shot of his is quite a surprise.I didn’t see any discussion of it at any point since he was drafted.

You should read the Cult of Hockey! 🙂

Also from 2011:

Davidson was a key man on the powerplay, playing the middle of the umbrella, moving the puck comfortably but a threat to unload a big shot. One of them tested Laurent Brossoit in Edmonton’s net creating a dangerous rebound, while another beat Brossoit cleanly and dinged off the post on its way into the net.

There’s a bunch more in the post. My scouting reports don’t always hold up that well over time, but I’m pretty happy with this one.

Cassandra

I thought he had almost no chance before the season but it sure feels like I was wrong.

He has passed Reinhart on the depth chart like he was standing still.

Bruce McCurdy

Woodguy: I mentioned it on LT’s show the next day too (I’d link to it, but only hour 2 from that day is on the TSN1260 website)

Darcy’s segment can be found here, and, as always, is worth the listen. Starts around 21:00.

RexLibris

Bruce McCurdy: Not quite destitute, but in tough. This snippet from an interview I did with Davidson in 2011 gives some insights:

I was impressed with this kid back then, & I remain impressed today. He’s done nothing but improve from that day to this. Humble, well-adjusted, focused, smart — he’s got a lot going on. Am rooting for him pretty hard, especially since the cancer scare but even before.

Same story with Nugent-Hopkins, as I recall.

His parents separated and he opted (his idea) to sit out a year because they couldn’t afford it during the divorce.

Iirc.

RexLibris

flyfish1168:
Ducks have woken up. 2-2Lets kick some F*&^%^ ugly phlegmbutt.

WoI has the CF 33/14 in Anaheim’s favour.

Not watching the game but either the Flames’ goaltending has finally woken up or the Ducks are firing everything from the outside.

That’s a nasty shot differential.

I’m starting to unconsciously associate Bob Hartley with the phrase “more cowbell”.

flyfish1168

RexLibris: WoI has the CF 33/14 in Anaheim’s favour.

Not watching the game but either the Flames’ goaltending has finally woken up or the Ducks are firing everything from the outside.

That’s a nasty shot differential.

I’m starting to unconsciously associate Bob Hartley with the phrase “more cowbell”.

After phlegms went up 2-0 and a ducks goalie change, the Ducks woke up. Prior to that it was maybe slightly a little for the phlegms.

jp

Caramel Obvious:
I thought he had almost no chance before the season but it sure feels like I was wrong.

I don’t think many of us had much of an idea. I don’t recall anyone suggesting anything more than a 6-7 as his upside.

Luckily Chia, TMc (or more likely McT) realized his value. The easy play (and the one I expected) coming out of camp was try to pass him through waivers. But instead they carried 9!!!! Dmen so they could hold onto him. Looks like the right move, and kudos to whoever went to bat for the guy!

Pouzar

2nd best story next to Drai.

Loved what I saw live in preseason but of course preseason has it’s pitfalls.
All the tools were on display though. These are the kinds of prospects (5th rd)
you need to hit on from time to time. <–that sounds bad.

Pouzar

Ryan Holt ‏@CondorsHolty
A nice first period here in #Condorstown. Really like the period from @jujhar94. Relentless on the fore check playing a heavy game.

Pouzar

Condors down 2-1 with 11 min left

2 man Adv upcoming

fifthcartel

Davidson looks really solid. I definitely think he’d be claimed if he was waived now.

If Reinhart is sent to Bakersfield to make room for Schultz I hope he stays in the line-up instead of Gryba. I think he’s earned it.

Pouzar

Brutal 5 on 3.

Slepy handling puck down low on his Right Wing…no option to shoot and kept passing back to point.

RexLibris

Doug MacLean likes Bennett more than Draisaitl.

Doug McLean is not currently employed in any personnel role related to professional hockey.

These two things are not a coincidence.

Armchair GM

Bruce McCurdy: You should read the Cult of Hockey!

Also from 2011:

There’s a bunch more in the post. My scouting reports don’t always hold up that well over time, but I’m pretty happy with this one.

I ALWAYS read your stuff. Cult of Hockey is a 365 day a year read. However, unlike LT and others, I haven’t committed it all to memory. My Bad. Need to spend more time in the archives.

Pouzar

69 – 32 CF for Ducks

Halfwise

Ducks beat Falmes for the 21st straight time at the Honda Center. Holy cow.

RexLibris

Pouzar:
69 – 32 CF for Ducks

Hartley did everything right.

Outshot by a 2-1 ratio.

Down by a goal in the 3rd.

Pulled the goalie.

Still lost. He can’t figure out why his Jack Adams award-winning coaching strategies aren’t working.

RexLibris

Our Old Friend certainly took offense to my comment above re: MacLean.

Apparently my opinion isn’t valid because I’m not being paid by a major network to express it.

Good to know that’s how hockey works. Guess I can just shut ‘er down till the Rogers boys come calling.

I wonder who pays him for his eloquence and insight?

Pouzar

RexLibris:
Our Old Friend certainly took offense to my comment above re: MacLean.

Apparently my opinion isn’t valid because I’m not being paid by a major network to express it.

Good to know that’s how hockey works. Guess I can just shut ‘er down till the Rogers boys come calling.

I wonder who pays him for his eloquence and insight?

Ask him if he can spell PPG.
Then ask him if he can sort by it.