There aren't very many roads to the NHL that have been bumpier than the one traveled by Oilers defenceman Brandon Davidson.
The team has yet to announce whether the 23-year-old will make his NHL debut tonight on the road against the Anaheim Ducks, but if he does, it will be the culmination of a tumultuous few years that included a cancer scare and an off-season groin injury earlier this year that caused him to miss training camp.
"For a lot of my life, things have come harder for me, but I've always battled through and here I am ready to go," Davidson said following the team's pre-game meetings in Anaheim. With Nikita Nikitin (back) placed on IR on Monday, the Oilers recalled Davidson on Tuesday and he joined the team in California.
The Oilers selected Davidson in the sixth round of the 2010 NHL Draft, and he followed that up with 100 points and a +21 rating in 141 games during his final two Western Hockey League seasons with the Regina Pats, before graduating to the pro level.
Hockey took a backseat for Davidson in October 2012, however, as he was diagnosed with testicular cancer. He battled through successful surgery and chemotherapy, worked his way back to game shape and ended up finishing the season with the AHL's Oklahoma City Barons. Fully recovered, he spent all of 2013-14 with the Barons and put up 13 points in 68 games.
Poised for a competitive NHL training camp, Davidson had another setback during his summer training as he suffered a groin injury that prevented him from on-ice action until he debuted with the Barons in November. He's been stellar since, putting up three points and a +5 rating in 14 games, for the most part playing on an OKC defence pairing with veteran Brad Hunt.
"Less is more for me," Davidson said. "I play a simple game, a strong game. I feel like some stability on the back end would help the team, and that's all I want to do is help. I'm not going to change anything or reinvent the wheel. I'm just going to play hard."