Brandon Davidson last week received the call every American Hockey League player dreams of — a promotion to the NHL parent team.
Davidson, though, was injury insurance. He still hasn't made his NHL debut. But when Davidson takes the ice with the Oklahoma City Barons on Friday night and Saturday night at the Cox Convention Center, he knows playing in the NHL is a realistic goal.
“It meant a lot to me just to get the call,” Davidson said. “It showed all my hard work is starting to pay off. I was excited just to get the opportunity. If I had gotten into a game it would have been really special, but it wasn't my time.”
Davidson, 6-foot, 202 pounds, is an easy player to root for. It was about this time last year when Davidson was told he had testicular cancer.
After Davidson was given a clean bill of health three months later, he scored 12 points in 11 games at Double-A Stockton before returning to the Barons on Feb. 8. Chemotherapy zapped some of his strength, but he steadily got stronger. In May, he was a key piece in OKC's run to Game 7 of the Western Conference finals.
The winner of the AHL's Hunt Memorial Award, based on sportsmanship, determination and dedication to hockey, Davidson improved his stock this past summer. He had a strong showing as captain of his team in the Young Stars Tournament.
“That's a great way for young guys to get their foot in the door,” Davidson said. “It gave me a lot of confidence. My plan was to make the Edmonton Oilers out of camp. I'm never going to settle for anything less.”
A sixth-round pick, Davidson never has been on “the-ones-to-watch” list. He's the type of player that coaches fall in love with after watching him consistently make winning plays.
“Brandon has always had to do it the hard way,” said Barons coach Todd Nelson. “He's like the underdog. For him to get the call, even though he didn't play in a game, it was one step closer. I'm sure it will give him confidence moving forward.”
Davidson doesn't have jaw-dropping skills. He's not a huge scorer but chips in his fair amount of assists and usually is rock solid on the defensive end.