Brandon Davidson skated with his new Islanders teammates Monday, then said he is ready to help the team make the playoffs.
That is not the direction in which the Oilers, who traded him for a third-round pick in the 2019 draft, are headed in the Pacific Division.
“I didn’t know that that was in the cards for me this year. I thought that I was pretty safe,’’ the 26-year-old defenseman said of the NHL trade deadline. “But on a positive note, I’m very happy to be here. I’m now in the playoff hunt here. Excited to kind of help. I never played in New York too much, but I’m very excited.”
The Islanders are four points behind Columbus for the second wild card in the Eastern Conference.
Davidson played for Montreal earlier this season before being claimed on waivers by the Oilers on Dec. 3. The Canadiens also are not in playoff contention.
“Being on two teams that kind of weren’t in the position that we are now, I think it’s definitely motivation to kind of elevate my game,’’ Davidson said. “I know there’s a good opportunity for me to play a lot of minutes, to play my game. I’m kind of a stay-at-home defenseman. I know that the help on the [penalty kill] will be helpful, too. I’m going to do my job and I think that I can help for sure.
“This is a great opportunity for me here. I can see the [defensive] struggles that are happening here. I’m not going to come in and save the day by any means, but I think that there’s a few areas that I can help clean up and support. I’m fighting for another contract as well, so I want to put my best foot forward and make sure that I’m doing my job and I’m putting myself in a good position to come back here next year.’’
Doug Weight sees Davidson as a valuable addition. “Brandon moves well, big, strong kid,’’ he said. “We watched him for a while. Johnny [Boychuk’s] valiantly playing hard, obviously, Cal de Haan is gone for the year. We need that depth; we want to be in a position to use it. It’s exciting for us. I’m excited to see him play. Definitely a good PKer, got a mean streak, a really good guy in the room. He battles. I think he moves the puck really well and moves his feet well.”
Davidson is a survivor of testicular cancer. He said he has been free of the disease since surgery in October 2012.