Jeremy Davies is used to flying under the radar.
Despite being named a first team USHL All-Star in his final season of junior hockey, the Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, Quebec native never once saw his name listed on NHL Central Scouting.
The New Jersey Devils saw something in the 5-foot-11 defenseman out of Bloomington in the USHL to take him in the seventh round with the 192nd overall pick in this past summer’s NHL Draft.
Now, as a freshman at Northeastern, Davies is quickly earning the trust of his coaching staff and showing off his unique skill set to Hockey East fans.
“He’s a smart offensive player. He has real good hockey sense,” explained Northeastern coach Jim Madigan. “He’s defending better. He’s defending quickly. He’s come a long way. He and [Chicago Blackhawks prospect] Ryan Shea are playing 20-22 minutes a game. For freshman defensemen, that says something about the confidence and comfort level we have in them.”
Despite logging significant minutes and contributing in a meaningful way, his name still gets lost in the shuffle when it comes to the top rookies in Hockey East.
Davies picked up his second collegiate goal in his team’s 5-4 win over Providence Friday night at Matthews Arena. It was a wraparound goal after he stepped in to join the offense from the left point.
“I’m an offensive defenseman who likes to get into the play, but I also take pride in playing defense and being involved in all 200 feet,” said Davies.
Davies is a defenseman who uses his feet and mobility to defend. He isn’t going to be overly physical or intimidate opposing forwards with his size.
“I’ve always worked on my skating. Obviously I’m not the biggest guy out there. My feet help me defend in my own zone and I try to have a good stick,” explained Davies.
Davies played two seasons in the USHL, widely considered the top developmental league in preparing players for college hockey, before matriculating to Northeastern. His time in Bloomington, and Waterloo before that, is a major reason the transition has been relatively seamless.
“Obviously there is a big adjustment, but the USHL is a great league to develop as a player and get ready for college hockey,” Davies said.
He has also had the benefit of playing alongside some older players, including junior alternate captain Garrett Cockerill.
“The guys are helping me out. I try to ask the older guys questions. I feel bad for [Garrett Cockerill]. I ask him 25 questions every practice. He’s a great guy to lean on. He’s an older guy and a really good player. He kind of plays a similar style to me too,” said Davies.
Davies missed the Devils Development Camp over the summer, but for good reason. He was already on campus, trying to acclimate himself to college life and getting bigger in the weight room.
“I did a summer semester here. I took two years off from school so taking a couple of courses this summer helped me get back into the rhythm of school,” Davies said. “I also worked out with our strength and conditioning coaches every morning at 6:30.”
Davies’ play in his own zone is progressing, but it is still a work in progress. It’s an area of his game he knows needs to get better if he is going to continue his hockey career after Northeastern.
“I think I have pretty good offensive abilities, but if I want to get to that next level, I need to make sure that every part of my game is excellent so I’m trying to work on my defensive game.”
With a few NHL scouts already comparing his game to that of former Union defenseman and current Philadelphia Flyer Shayne Gostisbehere, the future appears bright for Davies.