Future Watch: Brandon Davidson
19-year old Davidson eyes an NHL future in his home province
|Brandon Davidson at the July prospect development camp in Edmonton (Photo by Andy Devlin / EOHC).
For Oilers prospect Brandon Davidson, a new career path was carved from the hard work, dedication to succeed, and willingness to improve that was instilled with him at a young age. Like any young hockey player, the importance of a mentor provides endless benefits both on and off the ice.
Davidson, a Taber, Alberta native who has spent his entire hockey career close to home, says his father has always been that personal guide.
"My dad really was my main influence; my rock, my supporter. He always pushed me to be all I could be."
Father knows best, and his guidance through his young life appears to have impacted him more than the now 19-year old Davidson could have ever imagined.
Davidson began his WHL career with the Regina Pats in 2009-10 when the 6’2" 194-pound defenceman signed as an undrafted free agent. Having posted one goal and 33 assists in only 59 games with the Pats, Davidson quickly gained notoriety for his offensive upside and confidence with the puck; invaluable skills that few young defencemen can master.
Depth on defence is a precious commodity for any organization. That point has extra importance for a team like Edmonton who’s looking to rebuild and, more importantly, re-brand the corps with an infusion of size and skill.
As a result, Brandon Davidson was the logical selection for the Oilers as the 2010 NHL Entry Draft neared its conclusion. With the 162nd overall pick, the Oilers made a young Alberta boy’s dream come true in the sixth round this past June.
"It was pretty amazing," said a wide-eyed Davidson. "Growing up as a kid, being an Alberta boy, everyone cheered for the Oilers. My older brother is a big Oilers supporter, too, so I got into the routine of cheering for the Oilers pretty early."
There was little time for reflection, as the newly acquired Davidson was thrust into the organization in rapid succession. Only a few short weeks following the draft, Davidson made his way to Edmonton to participate in the organization’s annual prospect development camp.
Two months following that experience, he was back with the team as the Oilers participated in the Young Stars Tournament in Penticton. It was a whirlwind summer that Davidson says has helped to fast-track his development.
"It was just little things that I needed to work on, personally," he said. "Moving the puck quicker and faster, my foot speed and that stuff. Just a quicker, faster, bigger game."
"I took so much from those camps and I'm working on them back home in my junior camps as well."
|Brandon Davidson guards the net for the Regina Pats (Photo courtesy of the WHL).
"It was incredibly helpful. I’m very thankful for that feedback," Davidson said. "Getting back to pucks a little bit quicker seemed to be their main point. Being a little bit more of a physical presence out there, utilizing my size and stuff. Those were the three main things that I need to work on."
Following a busy summer and fall with the Oilers, Davidson returned to Regina where the dynamic defenceman says the feedback from coaches Curtis Hunt and Shaun Sutter has been equally as helpful.
"It's very similar feedback – almost identical. Being back home in Regina, I get some time at practice to work on those things. Throughout games as well, to develop more as a player."
At this point, the extra effort has seen the results pay off in spades. Davidson has added the aforementioned skills to an already loaded two-way arsenal.
Although on the surface it would appear to be a lofty comparison, Davidson’s wide range of ability is similar to that of Chris Pronger: Excellent patience with the puck, spot-on positioning, poise on the breakout, and the ability to coordinate an offensive attack in the most proficient way possible. Even with that said, he believes his style is more of a hybrid concoction.
"I don't really model it after any one guy in particular. I'd say it's probably a bunch of different guys," said a humble Davidson.
Even without the direct comparison to another NHL defencemen, he does have tremendous respect for another physical player – a forward, surprisingly – that controls the pace in similar fashion as he does.
"I actually like watching Joe Thornton and the way he controls the ice. If anybody I've kind of modeled my game after, it would be him with his size and ability; the way he controls the ice and distributes pucks. It really helps me see where I want to be with my game."
With the mentality of wanting to improve on a daily basis and learn from some of the NHL’s best, Davidson quite clearly has his sights set high. In terms of personal goals for the continuing 2010-11 season with Regina, he was sure to put a number on what he hopes will cap another successful season in the WHL.
"I want a 45-point season. I know points aren't everything, but I'm an offensive d-man and I've got to have a number to strive for. That was the number I put up at the beginning of the year, so hopefully I can reach it, and hopefully surpass it."
With five goals and 28 points already recorded in only 34 games this season, Davidson is on pace to shatter his goal and 2009-10 season output. Considering he was an undrafted free agent just a year ago, the payoff has been incredible for the Pats organization as a top-flight defenceman has quickly emerged.
In due time, the Oilers will be rewarded with the benefits as well. For the time being, however, Davidson is enjoying yet another excellent season with the Pats as he looks to improve on that newly carved path up the highway to Edmonton.
2010-11 OILERS PROSPECT STATS
|19||25||3||1||4||-4||26||Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL)|
|20||18||0||3||3||-3||2||Oklahoma city barons (AHL)|
|18||30||7||10||17||+1||37||kootenay ice (WHL)|
|29||29||10||17||27||+1||34||oklahoma city barons (ahl)|
|19||31||15||27||42||+27||6||saskatoon blades (whl)|
|20||29||9||7||16||-8||17||oklahoma city barons (ahl)|
|20||18||4||5||9||N/A||25||quinnipiac university (ecac)|
|21||28||2||5||7||-6||8||oklahoma city barons (ahl)|
|19||30||7||7||14||N/A||26||timra ik (sel)|
|23||19||2||3||5||-3||6||oklahoma city barons (ahl)|
|18||29||19||25||44||+24||18||ottawa 67's (ohl)|
|31||29||9||14||23||+5||8||oklahoma city barons (ahl)|
|23||22||1||13||14||+11||23||oklahoma city barons (ahl)|
|23||26||13||13||26||+6||28||oklahoma city barons (ahl)|
|28||29||3||6||9||-4||28||oklahoma city barons (ahl)|
|18||27||3||7||10||+4||17||edmonton oil kings|
|19||29||13||19||32||+4||19||medicine hat tigets (whl)|
|19||22||6||6||12||N/A||4||ilves tampere (fnl)|
|24||29||15||12||27||+13||6||oklahoma city barons (ahl)|
|24||24||2||2||4||-1||41||oklahoma city barons (ahl)|
|23||28||5||3||8||-7||20||oklahoma city barons (ahl)|
|25||26||2||15||17||-5||35||oklahoma city barons (ahl)|
|22||6||0||0||0||E||18||oklahoma city barons (AHL)|
|21||15||0||4||4||N/A||42||merrimack college (h-east)|
|18||8||0||6||6||N/A||10||acadie-bathurst titan (qmjhl)|
|23||29||0||9||9||+3||16||oklahoma city barons (ahl)|
|19||34||5||23||28||-4||32||regina pats (whl)|
|19||22||0||0||0||-12||30||chicago steel (ushl)|
|18||33||10||25||35||+6||37||prince george cougars (whl)|
|21||25||1||3||4||-2||28||oklahoma city barons (ahl)|
|28||15||0||4||4||+3||12||oklahoma city barons (ahl)|
|23||29||7||13||20||-3||16||oklahoma city barons (ahl)|
|21||28||1||5||6||+1||62||oklahoma city barons (ahl)|
|18||23||15||6||2||0||2.45||.915||medicine hat tigers (whl)|
|36||17||11||5||1||0||2.30||.920||oklahoma city barons (ahl)|
|22||11||7||2||1||1||3.00||.894||stockton thunder (ECHL)|
|19||21||12||9||0||0||2.95||.905||acadie-bathurst titan (qmjhl)|
Author: Ryan Dittrick | edmontonoilers.com