Mats Zuccarello of the Rangers battles for the puck in...

Mats Zuccarello of the Rangers battles for the puck in the third period against Brandon Davidson of the Canadiens during Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals at Madison Square Garden on April 18, 2017. Credit: Jim McIsaac

NEWARK, N.J. — Brandon Davidson, a defenseman who overcame testicular cancer at the start of his professional career six years ago, was acquired by the Islanders Saturday from the Oilers in exchange for a third-round draft pick in 2019.

Davidson, 26, fits the traditional “defensive defenseman” role, having registered 81 hits, 64 blocks and five points in 36 games this season for the Canadiens and Oilers. The Taber, Alberta native had been traded by the Oilers just before the trading deadline last year, too. He was sent to Montreal for David Desharnais, who later signed with the Rangers. The Oilers brought him back, claiming him on waivers on Dec. 3.

The newest Islander has said that he took on new determination after he was diagnosed with cancer on Oct. 1, 2012, when he was with the Oilers’ Oklahoma City team in the American Hockey League. He underwent surgery two days later and chose to take an aggressive but daunting one-month chemotherapy treatment so he could get back on the ice sooner.

“I wanted to make sure that I was going to be healthy first, but I was also worried about my career,” he told the Montreal Gazette after the trade last season. “I had finally gotten to be in a pro locker room and I didn’t want it to be over already . . . I didn’t know if I was going to play again.”

He lost 20 pounds during the chemotherapy but did play later that season in the ECHL. He made it to the NHL two seasons later. He is a restricted free agent after this season.


Islanders players and staffers have been watching the Olympic hockey tournament with interest, regardless of the fact that NHL players were not allowed to play. No one has had a more personal emotional investment than Dennis Seidenberg, whose brother Yannic is on the German team that will face the Olympic Athletes of Russia in the gold medal game Saturday night.

The Islanders defenseman said earlier in the week that he has been in touch regularly with his brother, with whom he has played in international competition. With a wry smile that acknowledged his own struggles lately, Dennis said, “At least there’s one guy in the family being successful.”

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