Edmonton Oilers Benefit from Waivers with Walker, Davidson

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 02: Nathan Walker. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/NHLI via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 02: Nathan Walker. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/NHLI via Getty Images) /

In need of a spark, the Edmonton Oilers hit the waiver wire market for some quarter-season pick-ups, claiming Nathan Walker and Brandon Davidson.

So far for Edmonton this season, the team has struggled to string together wins and put up offence and hasn’t been getting enough secondary scoring, let alone high-quality defence. This, in turn, has led to the 2017-18 Stanley Cup favorites currently trying to climb out from the bottom of the NHL standings.

With that being said, the Oilers knew there had to be some kind of change. Because it’s still early, the team decided to hit the waiver wire market and pick up some assets there, instead of engaging in full-on trades with a significant chunk of the season still remaining.

Earlier this week, Edmonton claimed Australian winger Nathan Walker off waivers from Washington. The Oilers, however, weren’t done there, claiming defenceman Brandon Davidson, who the team traded away for David Desharnais last season, off waivers Sunday.

While both Walker and Davidson have struggled to maintain a permanent spot in the lineup of their respective former clubs, they end up being huge assets for Edmonton. Here’s how both will benefit the team moving forward.

Nathan Walker

The 23-year-old made hockey history as the first Australian to play in the NHL earlier this season. He played four seasons with the Washington Capitals’ AHL affiliate Hershey Bears, scoring 34 goals and 79 points through 202 AHL games.

Edmonton Oilers
Edmonton Oilers /

Edmonton Oilers

He has been developing and preparing for the NHL scene since he was drafted in the third round of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, and following an impressive training camp, he cracked the Capitals’ opening night roster.

After scoring in his debut, the 5-foot-9, 186-pound forward struggled to keep his spot in the lineup and finished his tenure with Washington with a lone goal through just seven games. One of the main reasons, though, that he was unable to truly make himself a staple in the Capitals’ lineup is because he was competing with the likes of experienced forwards like Alex Chiasson and Tyler Graovac, and being outplayed by players like Chandler Stephenson.

However, he should make a stronger case with Edmonton. Walker may lack size, but he is a speedy, physical player who doesn’t shy away from getting in the gritty areas, throwing his weight around or battling for pucks. He is somewhat of a pest on the ice and even once dropped the gloves with Andrew Shaw in a preseason match.

Because of his high-energy playing style and physicality, as well as his speed, he will be able to make a strong impact on the Oilers bottom-six and should be able to help the team ignite some offence, especially playing with players like Jujhar Khaira and Mark Letestu.

Brandon Davidson

Having played with the Oilers in the past, Davidson is accustomed to the team’s needs on the blue line. He is a versatile defenceman who can play on either side of the puck, and he is known for his puck-moving ability and size, as well as his physicality. The 6-foot-2, 210-pound blueliner had just one assist through 13 games with the struggling Montreal Canadiens but has proven ability throughout his career to play a strong 200-foot game.

Also, with Adam Larsson and Andrej Sekera out, Davidson is being given a huge opportunity to draw into the lineup and prove his worth over some of the team’s other defenders. He is known to show a lot of drive and effort in his game, and without a doubt, he will capitalize on his opportunity for more playing time.

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As previously stated, the 26-year-old knows the Oilers system and what the team is looking for, and has a lot of ability as a depth player. Therefore, he should have no problem fitting in, let alone competing with the likes of Eric Gryba and Yohann Auvitu for more minutes.

Overall, both players are solid depth players, and they can not only become staples in the organization, but they can also help the team where they are lacking in the forward and defensive lines.