On Thursday, the Oilers agreed to terms with 23-year-old Brandon Davidson on a one-year contract. After 12 games with the club last season, the defenceman's natural progression and development suggest he’s ready for more in 2015-16.
“Things were pretty smooth sailing I think,” Davidson told Bob Stauffer on Oilers Now. “With my situation and how things went last year, I think that this was reasonable and I’m glad that I’m able to stay on with the organization. I know I’ve had a taste there now and I feel like I’m ready more than ever. I’m real excited and can’t wait for the challenge ahead of me.”
His road to the NHL is lined with obstacles. The organization made it a point of emphasis to bolster their depth on the blueline this off-season. The competition is much stronger than a year ago. Edmonton traded for both Griffin Reinhart and Eric Gryba at the draft. General Manager Peter Chiarelli has said he expects both to be in Edmonton this season. There is also the competition with 2013 seventh-overall pick Darnell Nurse for a spot. And of course, you have the incumbent defencemen from last season as well as free agent signing Andrej Sekera.
It will be a tough task for a young defenceman like Davidson to unseat some of that competition. But he’s faced adversity before and the 2010 sixth-round pick won’t go down without a fight.
“I feel like I’ve done everything that I’ve been asked and I keep proving over and over again that I belong and that I can do this,” said Davidson. “For me, I know there’s a big challenge ahead of me, especially with what happened at the draft and Darnell Nurse might be ready as well. I know there’s a huge challenge ahead of me but I’ve been facing challenges my whole life and this is just another one. Hopefully I can break this one down too.”
Davidson has gotten bigger and stronger the last few years and last season he was a very important piece of the Oklahoma City Barons defence. Davidson was reliable enough that the coaches put him on the ice for big minutes and big responsibilities. He became more physical this past season, and it showed in his one-on-one battles with opposing players. Davidson says he would like to get a little quicker heading into the upcoming season.
If Davidson is to make the Oilers roster out of training camp, beginning the year as the seventh defenceman may be his best bet.
“That’s very fair,” said Davidson. “That’s my goal right now, to get my foot in that door and if that’s that seventh spot then I’m going to relish that and run with that. Any chance I can be there and stay there, I’m going to take it, make the best of it and work my way to through the ranks kind of thing.”
After signing on with the Oilers for another year, Davidson couldn’t be more happy to at least have that opportunity.
“I’m really excited. I can’t wait to get started this season. I want to start and finish with the Oilers and that’s the goal.”