KAMLOOPS — It's been a whirlwind week for Blazers defenseman Dawson Davidson, first travelling to London, Ontario with the Pittsburgh Penguins to play in three rookie tournament games against prospects from Ottawa, Montreal and Toronto.
"It was really good. I learned a lot when I was there," says Davidson. "It's so fast, it's really fast hockey. You really got to adjust your game and you don't want to have the puck on your stick for too long. You try and get it off and make plays."
While Davidson was ultimately sent back to Kamloops, there were some positive to take away from his first pro hockey experience.
"They like how I skate, like how I move the puck, jump into the play," he says. "Obviously for me, getting strong and getting a little tougher in my own end. Playing the body a little more. Same things Coach Hay says."
Davidson arrived back in Kamloops on Monday and now sets his sights on the season-opener Friday night at home against Kelowna.
Barring any further cuts this week, the Blazers will be without eight players still at NHL camps. The 18-year-old Davidson will be one of few veterans on the blueline.
"Yeah, we have a lot of young guys. But I think our young guys are working really hard. They've been playing really good in preseason, so I think the coaching staff and everyone on the team has a lot of trust in our young guys," says Davidson. "If we are missing some guys, it's just a chance for guys to step up and prove themselves."
For Hay, he's happy to have at least one of his top players back before Friday's opener. He's looking forward to seeing what Davidson can bring in his third WHL season.
"Dawson's main success is his ability to move the puck," says Hay. "He can get points on the power play, he can get the puck up the ice. He can jump into the play, so all those things we want him to do to create offense, and also be very solid on the defensive end of it."
Davidson missed 13 games last season with a lower-body injury and hopes to stay healthy enough to play in all 72 games.
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