New York Islanders Brandon Davidson
Robby Sabo, ESNY Graphic via Getty Images

The New York Islanders found some quality insurance at a modest price and Garth Snow continues to make great deals with Peter Chiarelli.

Brandon Davidson has taken the tour of both coasts this season and now makes his way over to the New York Islanders and a third-round pick in 2019 is on its way to Edmonton.

Drafted in the sixth-round by the Oilers in 2010, Davidson didn’t play in the NHL until the 2014-15 season where he picked up his first NHL goal against the Colorado Avalanche—Davidson’s first point in his first 12 games.

Davidson was placed on waivers in the 2016-17 season, where he was picked up by Montreal. He spent parts of the last two seasons with the Canadiens and played in 23 games before being placed back on waivers and was picked back up by the Oilers.


At 26 years old, Davidson’s career in the NHL is still very young with just 114 total games played. This move is very characteristic of GM Garth Snow, who for the third time in the last four seasons makes an under-the-radar acquisition with a low risk, high reward type of deal.

The question is why then, after passing on him once, did the Oilers pick him back up for another 23 games after his departure? Well, as Butch Goring pointed out during the broadcast of the Isles 2-1 loss to the Devils on Saturday, sometimes when a team goes back to a former player they see a lot of potential in that player.

This trade worked out perfectly for both teams. Peter Chiarelli flips an asset he picked up for nothing for a third-round pick, and the Isles—who should be in a ‘win now’ mentality—sacrifice a lower-end pick for a reasonable gamble on a player who has shown some good flashes in samples.

Of course, this is all before knowing where Davidson will draw into the Isles defense. The assumption is that he may draw into the bottom pairing and if history sheds any insight, there’s a good chance Davidson will go in and out of the lineup.

When Tyler Kennedy and Shane Prince were acquired at their respective deadlines, both players jumped around in the lineup. You may even recall that Prince’s first goal as an Islander was on the first line with John Tavares and Kyle Okposo against the Winnipeg Jets.

So, yes, expect Davidson to draw into the lineup for at least the remainder of this season.

David Staples of the Edmonton Journal writes the following about Davidson in his analysis of the trade:

“The Islanders get a solid bottom-pairing defenceman who can help shore up their weak blueline. Davidson isn’t much of a puck-mover, but he’s a tenacious and fundamentally sound d-man who can kill penalties, deliver forceful hits and is rarely out of position.

The same general trends are seen with Davidson’s major contributions to Grade A chances, which were few, and major mistakes on Grade A chances, which were few. He’s the ultimate low even, safe, bottom-pairing d-man.”

Now this, of course, isn’t to say that the Islanders problems on defense are over. Far from it, in fact, and if the Islanders want to contend for a playoff spot they’ll need another move. Davidson’s acquisition is still a smart move. It just cannot be the only move.

Ultimately, the Islanders get a young defenseman who is an RFA at the end of next season at the price of a low-end pick.

A fundamentally sound defenseman? A penalty killer? Someone who’s rarely out of position?

Sign me right up.

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