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FROM UNDER THE RADAR TO READY TO ROLL
By Chris Wescott, on 06/01/2011It shouldn’t take long for 19-year-old blueliner Brandon Davidson to get used to the ‘Oiler Way’. Davidson’s favorite player growing up was Wayne Gretzky. His favorite team was the Edmonton Oilers.
The 6-2 194-pound defenseman has played the past two seasons with the Regina Pats of the Western Hockey League. After being undrafted out of midget hockey, Davidson went into his rookie season (2009-2010) with a lot to prove, being an ‘under the radar’ prospect.
He did just that, earning the Regina Pats’ Rookie of the Year honors and leading the team in plus-minus rating with +15. He also ranked third on the team in assists with 33 in 59 games. The defenseman finished with one goal that year and it came on the power play
The rookie’s breakout performance captured the Edmonton Oilers’ interest and the club chose him with their sixth round pick (162nd overall) in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.
After being selected, Davidson returned to the Pats and showed a vast improvement in his overall game. The young Oilers prospect played in 72 games, recording eight goals and 43 assists. Although his plus-minus dipped to +5, his penalty minutes nearly doubled to 71 from 37. That meant that his role with the club was becoming more prevalent. That was evidenced by his five power-play goals during the season.
He finished the 10-11 campaign tied for tenth in the WHL in points among defensemen and experienced a five-game point streak on three occasions. Davidson joined the Oklahoma City Barons of the American Hockey League on March 24, and saw time in one game. He made his professional debut in the season finale against Houston. Davidson recorded one shot on goal and was a +1.
“It’s been incredible so far,’ Davidson said following his time in OKC. “Being here kind of opens my eyes up and kind of gives me a taste of what it takes to play here. Getting in a few games and stuff, felt really good, felt really comfortable and now I know I can play here for sure and soon it’s a possibility.”
Davidson may get his chance to showcase his skills in OKC or Edmonton next season but until then, he is preparing himself for a productive offseason.
“The real key things I need to focus on this summer, and it can take from this, is kind of just adjusting to the speed and the size and the physicality of the American Hockey League and I got to step it up this summer and come back into camp prepared and ready to go.”
Davidson’s major point of emphasis will be his footwork and speed.
“I’m just going to work on my foot-speed and stuff… It’s not the best. There (are) always areas to improve. That’s an area I really think that if I improve there, everything else will improve.”
As Davidson continues his pursuit of a spot in the pros, he needs to continue to improve. But one thing is for sure. He isn’t flying ‘under the radar’ anymore.
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