Brandon Davidson arrived to the New York Islanders as a surprise acquisition at the trade deadline and appeared in the last 15 games of the season.As only one of two moves made by the New York Islanders on deadline day, it was unclear what was to be expected out of Brandon Davidson.
Davidson had a wild 2017-18 season, starting the year with the Montreal Canadiens before playing his last game for the Habs on November 22. Davidson was waived by the Canadiens and picked up by the Edmonton Oilers — his draft team in 2010.
A reunion with the Oilers saw Davidson’s ice time increase to roughly 17 minutes per night from the 14 and change he saw on the Canadiens. David Staples of the Edmonton Journal sang his praises when he was re-acquired by the Oilers, saying:
“…before Calgary’s Matt Tkachuk slew-footed Davidson and badly injured him at the start of the 2016-17 season, Davidson had worked his way up be in the running for a Top 4 job.”
Garth Snow must have felt the same about the 26-year-old defenseman, and offered a third-round pick to acquire Davidson at the deadline.
Arrival on the Island
At face value, the numbers aren’t the prettiest. However, noting that the Islanders finished dead-last in the NHL in goals-against, it’s pertinent to cut Davidson a little slack; one player isn’t going to fix a broken system. In his 15 games with the Islanders, Davidson notched a goal and an assist to go with a minus-eight rating and logging 17:38 of average ice-time.
Though the sample size was relatively small on the Islanders, Davidson brought the same hustle and competitiveness essential to any player looking to solidify themseleves as a roster mainstay. Doug Weight praised Davidson’s positioning and skating ability after his first practice with the team and a lot of that was reflected in his defensive-end play.
That being said, for all the good Davidson has done this season, there were still some good reasons why he was moved not once, but twice in the same year. One of the more damning aspects of Davidson’s brief stint with the Islanders was deflecting in numerous goals into his own net due to his positioning — the most notable example was the game-tying goal against the Oilers with just under two minutes to go in the third period.
Davidson tied a career-high this past season in total games played at 51, and that perfectly encapsulates his overall NHL career up to this point. Davidson is a fringe player who was brought in to secure some depth on the league’s worst blueline and he did the absolute best he could given the circumstances.