The Montreal Canadiens have had great luck at the draft table with older prospects, and it seems Jared Davidson could be their next hidden gem.
He wasn’t ranked on public draft rankings and seemed like a lacklustre pick, considering some of the names still on the board that were a year or two younger.
However, Davidson’s rapid development curve between the ages of 18 and 20 convinced general manager Kent Hughes to select the scrappy forward.
Davidson made his mark during the 2021-2022 season, where he potted 42 goals and 89 points in just 64 games as a 19-year-old while adding an impressive 13 goals and 29 points in 25 WHL playoff games.
Those playoffs are where I first discovered Davidson. Playing a chippy, never-say-die type of offensive game, he stood out on almost every play; driving hard to the net, while also showing fine shooting mechanics and an underrated playmaking ability
He was an integral part of the Seattle Thunderbirds that lost to Kaiden Guhle and the Edmonton Oil Kings last season, and was one of the leaders on the Thunderbirds roster that won the WHL title this season.
The Next Harvey-Pinard?
When you see his journey and how his hard work and rapid progression helped him reach new heights, you can’t help but compare his situation to Rafaël Harvey-Pinard.
Both players truly came into their own at the age of 20, after showing glimpses of their potential at 19. They both willed their teams to league championships and showed they belonged with the elite of their age group at the Memorial Cup.
That being said, the players play very different styles, to say the least.
Davidson may not have Harvey-Pinard’s two-way acumen, but he does have more offensive creativity in the offensive zone and better shooting ability.
But, early on, it does look like Davidson’s trajectory seems to align with that of Harvey-Pinard at the same age, and the common denominator is their irreproachable work ethic.
Following The Path
Davidson’s junior career is now likely over, as the Seattle Thunderbirds are likely to lose some big pieces to the NHL next year like Brad Lambert, Kevin Korchinski, Nollan Allan and Dylan Guenther.
The Montreal Canadiens have until June 1, 2024 to decide whether to sign Davidson to an entry-level contract, and could consequently offer him an AHL contract, like they did for Harvey-Pinard, to prove he deserved an NHL deal.
That same bet worked our well for Harvey-Pinard, who was awarded an NHL contract after a strong rookie season with the Laval Rocket. Most recently, Xavier Simoneau, who also signed an AHL deal last summer, forced the Montreal Canadiens’ hand into offering him an entry-level contract after a stellar rookie season in the AHL.
Davidson could very likely follow the same route, joining a young Laval Rocket club in the fall after participating in the Montreal Canadiens’ training camp and proving he should be back the next season and beyond.
At that point it’ll be up to Davidson to emulate Harvey-Pinard and Simoneau to earn his entry-level contract and cement himself as another feel-good story within the organization.