After joining the team for training camp on a professional tryout, the Blackhawks officially announced on Thursday that defenseman Brandon Davidson has signed a one-year, $650,000 contract for the 2018-19 season. And he's earned in.
In three preseason games, Davidson has been one of their better defenders, particularly when it comes to driving possession. When he's on the ice, the Blackhawks are controlling 82.6 percent of the even-strength shot attempts and have generated 17 scoring chances for and only four against.
"That’s huge for me," Davidson said. "Coming in here, I wanted to make sure I established myself and put my best foot forward in making this team. Now that I’ve done that, the concentration is on the team and winning."
But Davidson knows the real battle is just beginning.
"I set some goals this year and I got some boxes to check off. I think I just checked off one," he said. "There’s a long way to go here, and as we move forward things are definitely going to get tougher and the grind of the season’s going to come. Moving forward, it’s going to be a battle."
Davidson said he hadn't been paying much attention to the roster breakdown as camp went on. So when Adam Boqvist got assigned on Wednesday to the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League, that essentially meant Davidson had locked up a spot as one of the seven defensemen.
But he didn't realize it until getting a text from his brother.
"I never looked at it until yesterday," Davidson said of the remaining roster. "My brother watches everything closely and I don’t really. Yesterday he texted me and said, 'Boqvist has been sent down, there’s only seven D.' I looked at it and said, ‘Huh. Maybe we should call my agent.’"
All jokes aside, the Blackhawks need a little more stability on the back end and some veteran leadership as a depth option. That's what Davidson is here to provide.
"I thought he played well this year," coach Joel Quenneville said. "When I say this year in camp he earned an opportunity to play. I think his consistency is something we were looking for. A guy that can defend, steadiness, reliability. He's mobile back there. He's got some size, got a little edge to his game. Kind of has all the little ingredients we're looking for in a defenseman and the depth that we organizationally need. I think he fits all the boxes. You can check every one. Looking forward to seeing him play and get some predictability on the back end."
Quick note: On top of revealing the nature of injuries this season in an effort to be more transparent, the Blackhawks will be disclosing contract details when announcing signings and extensions, which is great news for hockey fans who have become more invested on breaking down dollar amounts and terms because of the salary cap.