Too good for the ECHL?

Jonathan Willis
February 18 2013 07:53AM

Early last week, the Edmonton Oilers assigned two prospects of note from Oklahoma City to Stockton of the ECHL. One was goaltender Olivier Roy, who was trapped in a three-way battle for playing time with veteran Yann Danis and newcomer Niko Hovinen. The other was defenceman Brandon Davidson, back on the ice after missing most of the early season due to cancer.

Both have impressed early.

Olivier Roy

Stockton played games on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and after losing four in a row won all three. Roy was the starter on Friday and Saturday and he was exceptional, facing a combined 64 shots over the two games and stopping 63 of them. Two games into his ECHL return his stats line reads 2-0-0, 0.49 GAA, 0.984 SV%, 1 SO. Roy was named the second star in both games.

Tyler Bunz, who has been getting lit up in Stockton this season, also played well in the other game, allowing just a single goal on 27 shots against.

Brandon Davidson

Brandon Davidson had looked reasonably effective with the Barons in the early going, but a battle with cancer meant that he only got into six games. When he returned to the lineup on February 8, he had been gone for more than three months and was in a tough situation: Oklahoma has a bunch of defencemen thanks to some veteran additions and understandably Davidson was in a tough spot to get regular playing time.

The Barons played Davidson in two games (he picked up an assist and a plus-2 rating) before sending him down to Stockton. In three games he has three goals (two of them game winners), a plus-2 rating and 10 shots on net. He’s been named the first star in two of the three games he’s played.

“Thank God for both of them”

After the Friday game, head coach Matt Thomas was (understandably) asked about the impact of both Roy and Davidson. His comments:

Well thank god for both of them tonight. Obviously Olivier needed to be very good from the opening shift, and he was very good...
And then, what can you say [about Brandon Davidson]. Just proud of a guy like that, what a story—going through cancer treatment, he’s still bald, hair’s not in from the chemo treatments—to come in and do what he did. It was great. As a team, it was great to be rewarded but what an accomplishment for him. It was nice to be a part of it. I think he had played two games [in OKC]…obviously he got a lot of ice time tonight and that’s the reason he’s down here. They want to get him going. He’s a good player; he’s got offensive instincts, he thinks the game well. I think his timing is still coming back, obviously tonight helped getting in the rhythm... It was nice to see them both contribute, obviously Davidson with the goals.

Recently by Jonathan Willis

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Jonathan Willis is Managing Editor of the Nation Network. He also currently writes for the Edmonton Journal's Cult of Hockey, Grantland, and Hockey Prospectus. His work has appeared at theScore, ESPN and Puck Daddy. He was previously founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue. Contact him at jonathan (dot) willis (at) live (dot) ca.
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#1 Oilfred
February 18 2013, 08:52AM
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Good read Willis. Hard not to cheer for Brandon, his whole story is touching, if he makes the show maybe it gets to be a TV movie.

Let me be the FIST one to say: Good luck young man!

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#2 Spydyr
February 18 2013, 09:20AM
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Make it all the way to the show Brandon Davidson.

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#3 Smokey
February 18 2013, 10:08AM
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I don`t know what to think of Roy, seems like he has been to good for Stockton, but unable to get it going in OKC.

I think no matter what happens for Davidson, he is the feel good story of the year as was Fedun last year. Davidson seems like he has got the character and drive to have a shot at the NHL in 2-3 years. I`d love to see him line up in third pairing in 3 years, can only hope for the best for him.

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#4 RexLibris
February 18 2013, 10:13AM
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Many of us are fond of saying here that we'll "cheer like heck for him" when referring to a longshot prospect. In Davidson's case, I think this is both particularly true and oddly insufficient.

If he ever makes the NHL, he'll deserve a standing ovation.

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#5 Sanaa Montana
February 18 2013, 10:47AM
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I thought this article was going to be about Teddy Chugham.

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#6 Senhor
February 18 2013, 11:53AM
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On another topic, why do I keep hearing how the flames are supposed to flame out to the bottom when they are 2 points behind the oil with a game in hand? And does anyone have any confidence that the oiler brain trust can make the right moves, besides drafting obvious first picks? Call me frustrated.

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#7 VK63
February 18 2013, 11:53AM
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From the book of captain obvious.

Succeeding is better than failing.

Finding the correct water level for some of these guys to swim in does appear to be more challenging than once anticipated HOWEVER. The level of play between ECHL and AHL is more similar than AHL and NHL.

I found this piece quite interesting.

http://www.myavidgolfer.com/blog/2013/2/18/wie-one-time-prodigy,-now-sad-tale.aspx

it somewhat expounds on the hazards of swimming out of ones depth. For the "hockey parents are certifiably insane" crowd.... lots of parallels as well. IMO.

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#8 gcw_rocks
February 18 2013, 12:18PM
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It's nice to see them both playing well.

If Davidson can keep this up, he is going to put a lot of pressure on OKC to swap him and a player like Deck, and I think that is a very good thing. Alternatively, it could cause the team to cut bait on Plante a little earlier. Regardess, another couple of weeks of playing like this and Davidson should be back in OKC.

Not sure I really get Roy yet. His ECHL play has been spectacular, but if he can't outplay Nico at the AHL level, then its not good, not good at all.

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#9 etownman
February 18 2013, 12:39PM
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I can guarantee you that right now both these guys just want to play hockey no matter where it is! Both are still very young in hockey terms & have bright futures! Congrats to both of them!

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#10 OilClog
February 18 2013, 12:44PM
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When Roy moves full time to the Barons next season,is more comfortable, confident, and assured.. his numbers will start to look similar to his current ECHL numbers. Goalies are creatures of habits, they must have a routine more so then any other player and stick to it to be effective.

Although depending on what the Oilers do with their goaltending situation next season, Roy could be the back up.. scary, but true.

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#11 Dog Train
February 18 2013, 08:16PM
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They are doing exactly what they need to do when they go down to the ECHL. If they are legitimate prospects, then they need to prove that they are too good for the ECHL. Nice to see Bunz also have a solid performance on Sunday because he's been struggling all season.

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#12 tom
February 20 2013, 12:25AM
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i have a trade purposal

To EDM: Alex Galchenyuk, Lars Eller

To MTL: Ales Hemsky, Sam Ganger, 2014 1st round pick, 2013 2nd round pick

Comments? I know it would never happen but i see so many positives for both teams out of it.

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