ECHL: Davis Bunz Heading Overseas

Davis Bunz shields the puck away from a Reading Royals player.
Photo Credit: Sarah Pietrowski | Inside The Rink

In a week that has seen a ton of players leave the ECHL to head overseas to continue their professional hockey career, another one is added to the list as Wheeling Nailers’ defenseman Davis Bunz is the latest player to leave. Bunz has elected to move to Nottingham, England, and sign for the Nottingham Panthers in the Elite Ice Hockey League.

As Bunz was added to the Nailers 2024-25 protected list, they will still have his rights to sign him should he choose to head back to Wheeling.

Via the Nottingham Panthers on X

The 25-year-old defenseman spent his first two years of professional hockey with the Nailers, where he played 116 games, posting 41 assists and 54 points. Bunz went from a defenseman who was not doing so well on the defensive side of the game to one of the better defensemen with the Nailers. In his first season, Bunz went a minus-12 in 58 games. During the 2023-24 season, trusted as an Alternate Captain, Bunz was spectacular with his transition to become a better defensive defenseman as he finished the regular season a plus-20. During the 2024 Kelly Cup Playoffs, Bunz continued his strong play as he tallied five points (2g-3a) and was a plus-four in nine games played. In an interview with Panthers TV after signing, Bunz had this to say about his transition to a better defensive-defenseman:

“I think I was put into a lot more situations. Credit to my coaches over there (in Wheeling) and everything and helping me get the confidence to take that next step in my game. And so every game that went by I just kind of got more and more confidence with the puck and making plays in the offensive zone, so that kind of was the transition for me.”

Davis Bunz Speaking with Panthers TV
Full Davis Bunz interview with Panthers TV via Nottingham on X

Prior to turning pro, Bunz played five seasons at Providence College in the NCAA’s Hockey East. He played 144 games during his college career, where he tallied 16 assists and 17 points. He finished his time at Providence with a plus-10 rating. Bunz committed to Providence College from a former United States Hockey League team, the Central Illinois Flying Aces. Bunz was originally drafted 92nd in the sixth round of the 2014 USHL Futures Draft by the Sioux Falls Stampede. He would appear in two games with the Stampede during the 2014-15 season, but would not see any more games with them. He would then be drafted by the Flying Aces with the 38th pick in the third round of the 2017 USHL Entry Draft. He appeared in 19 games for the Flying Aces, posting seven assists and nine points with a plus-five rating.

The Panthers finished the 2023-24 season sitting in ninth place in the 10-team league with a 15-25-6-8 record. They sat just two points outside of a playoff spot, and eight points of fifth place in the league. They had the fourth-worst goal differential with a minus-35 after scoring 165 goals and allowing 195. The addition of Bunz can help them out on the defensive side of things, and will look to help the Panthers back into the playoffs for the third time in four years.

Zachary Alvarado

Inside The Rink journalist covering the Wheeling Nailers and Norfolk Admirals of the ECHL. I am a Duquesne University Sports Information and Media major graduating in December. I have been passionate about hockey since I was 4 years old.

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