Canadiens Prospect Jared Davidson Shines In WHL Playoffs
Montreal Canadiens prospect Jared Davidson tends to fly under the radar.
Playing for one of the best teams in the Canadian Hockey League certainly doesn’t help his case.
The Seattle Thunderbirds are a powerhouse club, which usually means players in the top six will pad their stats against teams that aren’t intent on contending for the Memorial Cup.
But Davidson, 20, isn’t simply a passenger on the Thunderbirds roster, as evidenced by his team-leading 82 points in 60 games this season.
As an overage player, his production must be taken with a grain of salt, but it’s also worth noting Davidson led the team in scoring last season, as well.
Now that the playoffs are in full swing, we have an opportunity to evaluate Davidson’s performances against higher calibre teams, giving us a little more insight as to his potential once he makes the jump to professional hockey.
Of course, the real test will start on Friday night, as the Thunderbirds put their undefeated playoff record on the line when they open their series against the Kamloops Blazers, but in the meantime, we can evaluate Davidson’s play through the first eight games of the playoffs by taking a closer look at his scoring plays.
Admittedly, it’s rather difficult to evaluate his defensive prowess, because the Thunderbirds rarely have to defend in the first place, but for now, we’ll work with what we have.
With five goals and eight assists in eight games, Davidson is currently tied for 10th among WHL players in points per game (1.63).
If you would like to see more highlights from Canadiens prospects in the CHL playoffs, make sure to check out the articles on Joshua Roy and Logan Mailloux.
Round 1, vs. the Kelowna Rockets (4-0 Thunderbirds Sweep)
Game 2 (4-1 Thunderbirds Win). Davidson Production: One Goal, Two Assists (Three Points).
Davidson was held scoreless in the first game of the series but quickly bounced back in Game 2.
His first assist came via a great cross-ice pass (0:00), setting up Dylan Guenther for his third goal of the playoffs. Seeing Davidson thread the needle, particularly on the power play, is a common sight in Seattle, and the type of playmaking talent that should translate to professional hockey.
His second assist (0:13) wasn’t spectacular, though it did put his penchant for retrieving pucks and quickly distributing them on display.
The goal (0:20) was scored on an empty net, and while there’s certainly value in pointing out when a goal is scored without a goaltender to block the shot, we should also remind ourselves that coaches put their best players on the ice when trying to defend a lead. Therefore, empty net goals, for the most part, are an encouraging sign that the player in question is trusted by the coach.
Game 3 (4-1 Thunderbirds Win). Davidson Production: Two Assists
Davidson does a great job creating time and space for his teammates. It’s probably his greatest strength, beyond his fantastic one-timer.
His playmaking was on full display in Game 3, including his assist (0:00) on Seattle’s first goal of the game.
It was particularly noticeable when he registered his second assist (0:18). Not only did he generate a scoring chance out of nothing thanks to his tireless forecheck, he knew exactly where his teammate would be once he corralled the puck.
Davidson was held scoreless in the fourth and final game of the series.
Round 2, vs. the Prince George Cougars (4-0 Thunderbirds Sweep)
Game 1 (4-1 Thunderbirds Win). Davidson Production: Two Assists
You won’t see Davidson handle the puck in the first highlight (0:00), but as per usual, he identified the player who had the best scoring opportunity and quickly fed him the puck.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t find footage of his second assist.
Game 2 (5-1 Thunderbirds Win). Davidson Production: Two Goals
Davidson possesses a fantastic one-timer. And though there are a few issues with his play that may slow down his ascension to the AHL or NHL, including his skating, I’d argue his great one-timer will compensate for some of the shortcomings.
We take one-timers for granted, but even NHL players struggle to connect with cross-ice passes regularly. And there are very few players on the Canadiens roster that have the ability to take advantage of all their one-timer opportunities.
Davidson, on the other hand, does not, as evidenced by his first goal of the game (0:00).
If you wanted further evidence, jump to his second goal (0:11). Ty Young knows it’s coming and does a great job anticipating the play. He came as close as possible to making the save, but there’s absolutely no room for error when Davidson is set up for a one-timer.
Game 3 (8-1 Thunderbirds Win). Davidson Production: One Goal, One Assist (Two Points)
Oh hey, look, it’s Jared Davidson creating time and space for his teammates during a zone entry (0:00)! Yes, Davidson plays with some high-end players, but there’s no doubt he does a great job driving the play forward, as well as putting them in situations that are conducive to scoring.
Davidson also showed off his slick hands in the third game of the series (0:15). I’ll be honest, I’m a sucker for a good backhand goal, but despite my bias, you can see the Canadiens prospect has no qualms about handling the puck in high-danger areas. He has a nose for the net and usually picks the right type of shot when he has a prime scoring opportunity.
Game 4 (8-2 Thunderbirds Win). Davidson Production: One Goal, One Assist (Two Points)
The Canadiens draft pick started the game with a great scoring chance on the rush (0:00), using the defenceman as a screen to improve his odds of finding the back of the net.
He followed it up by showing the type of tenacity that has led to his impressive scoring rate over the last two seasons (0:09). Davidson’s work as the F1 leads to the Thunderbirds’ first goal of the game. Simply put, Davidson rarely loses puck battles.
And finally, Davidson caps off the series by scoring his fifth goal of the playoffs (0:24). It was a rather easy tap-in, though it once again put his net drive on full display.
All Canadiens prospect videos via the Western Hockey League.
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