EDMONTON — The Edmonton Oilers took care of some in-house business, signing their “Cinderella” player to a contract extension while grabbing two players off the waiver wire prior to Monday’s 3 p.m. ET trade deadline.
Edmonton signed defenceman Brandon Davidson and goaltender Laurent Brossoit to two-year contract extensions.
Davidson, 24, a 2010 sixth-round pick, has emerged this year as one of Edmonton’s steadiest defencemen.
The six-foot-two, 210-pound Davidson had a goal and an assist Sunday against the New York Islanders for his first multi-point game while leading the team with over 22 minutes of ice time.
Davidson’s career was almost derailed before it began when he was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2012.
There was surgery and chemotherapy, loss of weight, loss of strength, followed by a three-year apprenticeship in the minors.
The native of Lethbridge, Alta., said it was difficult but necessary.
“I was a little bit of a late developer for sure. I needed the time, I needed the amount of minutes and the heavy workload,” he said. “This is the goal, to get locked in for a few years especially (to) a place where I want to be and a place that has treated me so well.”
Oilers head coach Todd McLellan said Davidson’s play has been head-turning.
“He’s a fighter,” said McLellan. “Right now perhaps he’s our Cinderella story, which in turn will put a little more pressure on him this time next year. Expectations will go up.”
Brossoit, 22, of Surrey, B.C., has been solid this season with the AHL’s Bakersfield Condors. He has compiled a 15-9-3 record, 2.69 goals-against average and .919 save percentage with three shutouts.
He has played in two career games with the Oilers, registering a 1.45 GAA and .964 save percentage.
Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli has said Brossoit’s play made it possible for the team to sent backup goaltender Anders Nilsson to the St. Louis Blues on Saturday for minor-league goalie Niklas Lundstrom and a 2016 fifth-round pick.
“I’m nothing but excited,” said Brossoit. “They’ve reiterated the fact that they have a lot of faith in me. That goes a long way for my confidence.”
The Oilers also claimed forward Adam Cracknell from Vancouver and defenceman Adam Pardy from Winnipeg on waivers.
Cracknell, 30, has five goals and five assists in 44 games with the Canucks this year.
Pardy, 31, has one assist in 14 games with the Jets.
The Oilers play are on the road to play the Sabres Tuesday night, and McLellan said Cracknell and Pardy have spots waiting for them.
“I’m guessing they’re going to join our team in Buffalo and be ready to play,” he said.
Chiarelli has been on the hunt for an elite defenceman to anchor the back end and give some space for future keystone players like Darnell Nurse and Oscar Klefbom to emerge.
The defence remains Edmonton’s Achilles heel and a key reason the team is on track to miss the playoffs for a 10th consecutive season.
While centre Connor McDavid is considered untouchable, Chiarelli acknowledged Saturday even first-liners like Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and Taylor Hall could be in play if the right deal is there.
Chiarelli began making his major draft-day moves Saturday, trading away Nilsson, defenceman Justin Schultz and forward Teddy Purcell. The Oilers now have 10 picks for the upcoming draft.
Schultz, 25, was dealt to the Pittsburgh Penguins for a third-round pick. It ended a four-year experiment that began with visions of a Norris Trophy and ended with Oilers fans booing him out of the rink.
Schultz never lived up to expectations, failing to ignite the offence and proving to be a grave liability in his own end. He looked lost, often failing to take the body and swinging his stick wildly while forwards parked themselves in front of the net to tip in pucks.
Purcell, the durable veteran winger, was dispatched to the Florida Panthers for a third-round pick. The 30-year-old benefited from playing on a line with Hall and Leon Draisaitl, accumulating 11 goals and 32 points in 61 games with Edmonton.