NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. - The South Carolina Stingrays, proud ECHL affiliate of the NHL’s Washington Capitals and AHL’s Hershey Bears, have agreed to terms with defenseman Matt Nuttle and forward Scott Davidson for the 2019-20 season.
Nuttle returns to SC after joining the club late last year and appearing in seven total games in the regular season and Kelly Cup Playoffs, while Davidson recently finished his collegiate career at Quinnipiac University and was part of the AHL’s Charlotte Checkers during their run to a Calder Cup Championship this spring.
During a 4-year career at Cornell University, Nuttle helped lead the Big Red to the NCAA Tournament for the third consecutive season. The 23-year-old served as an alternate captain during 2018-19 and totaled 105 games with 38 points (eight goals, 30 assists) as well as a +18 rating in his career.
“Nuttle is a competitor,” said Stingrays Head Coach and Director of Hockey Operations Steve Bergin. “He’s very composed; a guy that you just want to go to war with. He came in with two games left in the year on the last weekend of the season and he knew what was on the line for us. We had to win those games to get in the playoffs and if he had nerves, you had no idea that he was nervous at all. He came in he just played a really steady all-around game.”
The native of Marilla, N.Y. scored four goals and 15 assists for 19 points in 36 games on the back end with Cornell last season. At the conclusion of the year, he was named the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference’s (ECAC) Best Defensive Defenseman and was also selected for the ECAC’s All-Tournament team during the postseason.
“At the end of my college season last year I came down and got acclimated with the area as best I could in that short time,” Nuttle said. “I really enjoyed playing with all the guys and I loved the coaching staff. I’m excited to get back at it with Bergy and I’m looking forward to working with Coach Blair as well. The city was great and the experience was awesome, I wish we could’ve lasted a little longer in the playoffs but I’m really excited to get back and get after it next year so it was kind of an easy decision to come back.”
In 2017-18, Nuttle helped lead Cornell to an ECAC Regular Season Championship while playing in 33 games and accounting for 12 points (two goals, 10 assists). He was a major part of a defensive unit that led the nation with a 1.58 goals-against average, the eighth-lowest in NCAA Division I history. Nuttle also tied for second in the nation with a +23 rating and was only on the ice for six even-strength goals against all year.
Before college, Nuttle spent the 2014-15 season in the United States Hockey League (USHL) and won the Clark Cup Championship with the Sioux Falls Stampede. The 5-foot-11, 193-pound blueliner also played 27 games with the USHL’s Bloomington Thunder. The year prior, Nuttle suited up for the Wenatchee Wild of the North American Hockey League (NAHL).
Davidson, 24, signed with Charlotte on April 10 after his final season at Quinnipiac came to an end. Although he never played in a game, the forward stayed with the Checkers all the way through their run to a Calder Cup Championship this spring.
“We’re trying to build a winning culture here of people that do things the right way, work hard and are accountable and coachable and Scott checked all those boxes,” Bergin said. “He was a guy we really wanted to go after, and he was fortunate enough to be able to go to Charlotte in the spring. Ryan Warsofsky had great reviews on him as a player as well as his character and said this is a guy you have to go after.”
The native of Trail, British Columbia finished with 41 points (15 goals, 26 assists) in 154 games during four years at Quinnipiac. He also served as an alternate captain both as a junior and a senior the past two seasons.
“I’m really excited to come to Charleston,” Davidson said. “I’ve talked to a bunch of people and they said how amazing the city is near the water and golfing year-round and nice weather so it’s pretty exciting. I’m just excited to start my pro career and see where it goes.”
Davidson also experienced a run to a championship game as a freshman at Quinnipiac when the Bobcats made it all the way to the finals of the Frozen Four in 2016. That season, he led all freshmen in goals with nine and finished with 15 points along with a +16 rating while helping his team earn an ECAC title on their playoff run.
“You can never surround yourself with enough guys in your organization that have won championships,” Bergin said. “I know he didn’t play any games in Charlotte but the fact that he was able to go there and experience that championship run and see what it takes to win a championship and the sacrifice and what those guys do at the next level, I think it will be huge for his development. He’s going to come in here and he’s already going to have a step up knowing what to expect and we’re really looking forward to getting him down here because we’ve heard nothing but unbelievable things about him.”
Despite all the great things Bergin has heard about his game, Davidson described his style of play in simple terms.
“You could say I’m a two-way forward, I like to pride myself on some of my defensive ability,” Davidson said. “I like to hit and bring some energy, that’s my game.”