Nathan Davis was selected by the Chicago Blackhawks 113th overall in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft after an impressive freshman campaign with Miami University that saw him score 25 points in 38 games. Perhaps more impressive, his four short-handed goals tied him the first in the nation in the category.
Davis continues to show that he is an excellent special teams player this year. In 16 games he has compiled 15 points, eight of them goals. Half of his goals have come on special teams, with two on the power play and two short-handed. It is only fitting that Davis will be one of Team USA’s top penalty killers in the World Junior tournament. Despite being a very skilled offensive player, Davis will most likely take on a defensive role. Combining with Tom Fritsche (COL) and Geoff Paukovich (EDM), they will be Team USA’s shutdown unit.
Davis took some time after Team USA’s 3-2 win over Team Sweden in an exhibition game at Bear Mountain Arena in Victoria, BC to talk to Hockey’s Future.
HF: How are you enjoying your time in British Columbia?
ND: I’m loving it. I actually came up here when I was a little kid. I’m kind of an outdoorsy guy, so I think it’s the most beautiful place on earth to tell you the truth.
HF: How has the entire pre-tournament WJC experience been for you thus far?
ND: Great, I know most of these guys. We’ve kind of been together over the summers and whatnot for a long time. It’s good to see everyone. There’s been a lot of stuff going on at once, but I think we’re a formidable team.
HF: What role do you see yourself playing on this team?
ND: On this team? I think I’m an aggressive forechecking type guy, energy type guy.
HF: How is the adjustment for you playing college to your role on this team?
ND: We play in the same league as Coach [Walt] Kyle, so we play some of the same systems. It hasn’t been bad at all. A couple of the systems are a little bit of the same, so you know.
HF: How nervous were you waiting to hear whether or not you made this team?
ND: Uh, you know what, I had actually forgotten about it a little bit, to tell you the truth. No bull! No bull! Someone said something to me, we played Michigan about two weeks ago and they announced it on Monday. To tell you the truth I had actually forgotten about it until somebody told me about it Saturday night. So from Saturday night until Monday morning I was really nervous, but other than that, I had totally forgotten about it.
HF: What are your expectations for Team USA?
ND: You know, I think we’re a good team, and I think there are a lot of good teams. And I think that we’re just going to take it as far as we can, ride it as long as we can. And we’re a good team and as we gel, we will see. Keep rolling and keep gelling that’s basically what I would say.
HF: Both you and Jack Skille are Blackhawks draft picks. Team Canada also has a number of Chicago picks. Does knowing that the team has so many top young players in their system concern you a little bit knowing the amount of competition you have?
ND: Chicago? Absolutely. I have to say that they’re doing some right, because (laughing) they drafted me! No, I looked at that and talked to one of the scouts before and he was saying that we have lots of guys in this tournament. And I think, absolutely, just looking at their draft picks the past three, four, years, they’ve built up a solid core of players. It should be fun to see.
HF: Do you follow Chicago’s other prospects at all, other than Jack Skille?
ND: Uh, not really. Jack and I are pretty good friends and I know another guy, he’s at Wisconsin. (laughing) I know him real well! I know a few of the guys real well. I know Jake Dowell real well but other than that, I don’t know many. When I’m browsing, I look some of those guys up.
HF: How closely do you follow the Blackhawks?
ND: My roommate actually from school is from Chicago and is a die-hard Blackhawks fan. We have the NHL package so we sit and watch every night, he makes me sit and watch them all the time, so pretty close.
HF: Who’s your favorite Hawk player?
ND: Oh geez, tough call. Rene Bourque. He’s a fun and exciting guy to watch.
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