Number nine on our list is Swedish forward, Jonathan Davidsson. Acquired at last season’s trade deadline from the Columbus Blue Jackets in the Matt Duchene trade, Davidsson immediately slides into Ottawa’s top 10 prospects list. A 5-foot-11, 22-year-old right winger (RW), Davidsson notched 21 points in 37 games last season in the SHL for Djurgårdens IF.
“Really speedy, skilled, hard-working guy who was actually really close to making the Columbus team last year.” – Senators European scout Mikko Ruutu on Jonathan DavidssonFrom: ‘Jonathan Davidsson is close to NHL ready‘ – TSN 1200
Blue Jackets general manger (GM), Jarmo Kekalainen, sang high praises of Davidsson’s capabilities ahead of 2018’s training camp. If he has a strong 2019 training camp with the Senators, there will be plenty of decision making in regards to where he will start the season. It will be up to him to make sure he starts the season with the NHL club.
The biggest observation that GM Kekalainen had was that Davidsson’s skating was “top-end NHL speed.” This can be seen in the way that Davidsson charges through the neutral zone with the puck. He only needs a few strides to take off and elude defenders and force them to poke check at him from behind. This takes away a lot of the defender’s ability to retrieve the puck, and has led to Davidsson drawing some penalties. His speed often leads to him getting scoring chances by cutting inside and stick-handling in tight.
“Our scouts watched him all year. I’ve gone and watched him a couple of times at Djurgårdens. It’s a pretty elite league with a lot of good players. He was able to be one of the top scorers in that league.” – Blue Jackets GM, Jarmo KekalainenFrom: ‘Davidsson could be ready to play for Blue Jackets this season’ – NHL
Dobberprospects’ scout for the Blue Jackets has also boasted Davidsson’s speed, noting that he, “is a strong skater with a quick first step, very good acceleration and above average top end speed, even while playmaking.” As a team that is looking to get younger, faster, and generate more offence, the Senators will find themselves turning to Davidsson to create scoring chances using his elite skating abilities.
Areas for Improvement
Many prospects have their offensive tools fine-tuned, but lack NHL ready defensive abilities. Davidsson falls into that category of prospects. He needs to work on adding more muscle, improving his balance, and being in better position while in his own end in order to become a well-rounded player at the NHL level.
Davidsson has also been described as occasionally getting caught puck watching or not moving his feet, which has led to missed defensive assignments. In the defensive zone, he tends to lack physicality and doesn’t give as much effort. While he has the skating abilities to be an effective defender, he has so far lacked the defensive instincts.
Projection and NHL Comparison
Davidsson projects out as a middle-six playmaker who can provide some depth scoring. If he improves his shooting and defensive abilities, then he could reach the higher end of his ceiling. He can be compared to fellow countryman, Marcus Johansson. Although not as offensively gifted, Davidsson is also a speedy forward who is more of a playmaker than a scorer. Like Johansson, he reads the play well but is less physical.
Expected NHL Debut
Davidsson has the tools necessary to make an NHL roster, and was the last cut of last season’s training camp for the Blue Jackets. This season he’ll get the opportunity to fight for an NHL spot again, but will be competing with lots of other young talent. I expect that Davidsson will start the season with the AHL Belleville Senators, but will be one of the first choices as a call up if one of Ottawa’s forwards goes down with an injury.
NHL Ready: 2019-20