Scouting report: Demers

Every week I will look into a player the Oilers might look at in free agency for via a trade. We all recognize their desire to improve their defence, especially the right side, so today let’s look at Jason Demers.

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The Basics:


28 years old in June.

6’1″ and 200 pounds.

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Shoots right.

UFA this summer.

Current salary: $3.65 million. (Cap hit of $3.4 milliion)

Career stats

2015-16 Playoffs 9 0 3 3 6 6 0 1 0 0 0 0 10 0
Career Playoffs 48 3 9 12 0 38 1 6 0 0 0 0 54 5.6
2015-16 62 7 16 23 16 72 3 5 1 1 1 0 94 7.4
NHL Career 423 28 115 143 39 254 11 41 1 2 5 0 555 5

Icetime over his NHL career:


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1:54       1:38


18:37     16:00      



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12:25       0:37      

He played in the AHL at 20 for one full season, and then played 25 games in 2009/2010 before being recalled to San Jose. It is interesting to note his most PPTOI/game came as a rookie in 2010. He was never a huge point producer in junior either. He did score 64 point his final season in the QMJHL, but he had 24 the year before.

Darcy McLeod wrote a very in-depth analytical analysis of Demers. It is excellent information to absorb and I feel it can support your case for a player, but we need to combine it with on-ice viewing. Analytics should never make your point. It is best used to support it.



I asked numerous scouts and even a few coaches for a brief scouting report on Demers. The biggest positive I took away from those conversations is that many of them had the same evaluation. This shows me he is a consistent player. Here is a breakdown of what they told me.

  • Not overly physical, but has good positioning.
  • Can struggle when matched against big, skilled forwards.
  • More consistent now than he was in San Jose.
  • Not afraid to make a play with the puck. Will be risky at times, but more willing to wait and look for play than to just throw puck away.
  • Second tier vision. Reliable moving the puck, but not someone you should expect a lot of offence from.
  • A passer more than a shooter. An average shot from the point.
  • Good gap control.
  • Good at offensive blue line to get pucks on net (much needed in Edmonton).
  • Very upbeat personality. Well liked in the room. Not a leader, but a good follower.


Demers is a solid, but not spectacular second pair defenseman. He would be an upgrade for the Oilers, but if signed he should not be expected to be your #1 RD. I’d be very leery of overpaying him as a free agent. I don’t see him excelling in one area. He is solid, but I’d classify him as a nondescript defender. I don’t see one facet of his game that really stands out.

I have watched every Stars game this playoffs to see how defence coach James Patrick has utilized him.

Demers only played one regular season game after March 8th. He returned to the lineup on April 9th and played 18:39. Patrick eased him into the postseason playing him 13, 16 and 14 minutes in the first three games versus Minnesota.

In the last six games, three versus Minny and three versus the Blues, he has played 18, 20, 23, 20, 24 and 18. Once Demers got back up to speed he’s been used similarly to the regular season. The Blues have given him much more trouble than the Wild, which isn’t a surprise when you compare the forward groups, but Demers and Kris Russell have had a tough time breaking up the Blues cycle.



I am doing my show live today from Auto City Edmonton (13135, St. Albert Trail) and from noon to 8 p.m. today, we will be collecting donations of diapers, baby
wipes, new toiletries such as soap and shampoo and new socks and
underwear for those impacted by the Fort McMurray fires. We will then
deliver them to the Edmonton Emergency Relief Services. Thanks in advance, and our thoughts and prayers to everyone impacted by this horrific disaster.

Recently by Jason Gregor:  

  • freelancer

    Basically it seems to me he is another Sekera, with the difference being he is a right shot. Would he be an upgrade? Absolutely. But with him being a UFA I would be hesitant on overpaying him.

    • CaptainLander

      Exactly my thoughts. Probably a similar deal to get him maybe 5 for 5 years or something. To much for Oil to spend on a d-man that will likely not be a 1-2.

      Now if the Oil could land Hamonic and his very reasonable contract I could get on board with signing Demers at a bit of an over pay for the Four years of the Hamonic Deal. say 5 mil for 4 years. Moving out Fayne would also help the Cap.

      Klef Hamonic/
      Sekera Demers/
      Davidson Gryba/
      Nurse Reihnhard

  • Word to the Bird

    Question is, would Demers and Hamonic be a big enough upgrade on the back end to make the team competitive?




    Tough to say but its a start at least.

    • Keepyourstickontheice

      Looks great w/ caveats:

      a) Where does Mark Fayne go? Do we manage to include him in the trade for Hamonic? If we have to buy him out, it’ll be tough to sign Demers.

      b) This assumes we can sign Demers to something reasonable. I think a team will offer Jeff Petry money for him, I hope its not the Oilers. If we can get him for less than 4.5 a year, sign that man.

      If the oilers can enter next season with the proposed D, I can see them seriously competing for a wild card spot.

  • Benny Botts

    @Jason Gregor

    Jason, i think for the most part, most people thought Fayne was playing well with Sekera near the end of the year. Would Demers really be a big upgrade over Fayne playing on that side? Especially if you think that you may have to over pay him…thoughts?

    • Jason Gregor

      Yes. Demers much better puck mover and can add some offence. Neither is very physical. Even when paired Sekera, Fayne only played 16:22/game in the final 12 games of the season. Not enough to be a top-four guy.

      Fayne makes $3.625 million and Demers at $4 mill would make your team better. But having both would be an issue long-term for sure.

  • McWeber

    Sign Demers but don’t give him a NMC. Worst case scenario is he can be the sacrificial lamb for the expansion draft and by then hopefully we have a solid replacement ready to take his place in Nurse or Reinhart.

  • A-Mc

    Ah interesting. Thanks for this info Jason. A ton of people were talking like Demers is the answer to the Oilers woes, but given your breakdown, he’s far from THE answer but could be PART of it.

  • CaptainLander

    Can’t help but think that one of those D-men in Winnipeg will get moved
    Enstrom 5.75 (could be tough to move at that cost)
    Myers 5.5 (Just picked him up in a big trade, still possible)
    Byfuglien 7.6 (Just signed the big deal)
    Stuart 2.6 (return would be nominal)
    Trouba ??? (Will this guy accept a 2 year bridge?) I would guess he will want something like a Klefbom deal. Maybe even more. Also may get you the best return.)

    What I suspect the Peg wants: Move Enstrom, improve offence. May be able to move Enstrom retaining salary. Getting Laine should help the offense eventually.

    What other teams (oil) want: Trouba, he should get a pretty good return for this guy.

    What the Oil can offer: I think the 4th overall plus Oesterle

    I hope Gregor does this scouting report on him.

    • Keepyourstickontheice

      Trouba wants a 7 X 7 type deal. If you could sign him to a Klefbom or Josi type deal you would be in the running for the best GM in the league.

      • Seanaconda

        Overpaid for what hes done so far. when is he a ufa? they may take him to arbitration and delay deciding to pay him that much for a bit when they don’t have the money atm./ he hasn’t proven himself for a deal that good.

  • Like with every player, it will depend on usage. I think most fans see him as an upgrade on the number two RD spot, otherwise known as the Schultz conundrum.

    This really only works if A) he’s not over paid, and B) a better top pair right side D is brought in. If he’s paired with Klefbom, who is very good at breaking up cycles against big heavy teams, then it could be a good match. At the very least it can’t be a worse match then Klefbom Schultz.

    But, even with a top four of Sekera – Hamonic / Klefbom – Demers, the Oilers still have no one to run the PP. And that’s a problem. Maybe they should go after a bit more of an offensive specialist if in fact they are targeting Hamonic.

      • Well, Sekera played well in the last half of the season paired with Mark Fayne of all people. He had the tough assignments and did okay on that role.

        I think if he was given an upgrade on Mark Fayne, which Hamonic is, Sekera could be even better.

        My other rational is based on the above article, I don’t think Sekera and Demers would be an effective pairing. It just feels like they are too similar in build and play style.

        If Demers struggles to break up a cycle, then it makes more sense to pair him with the guy who excels at that.

        Finally I think we are all seeing Klefbom with some rose coloured glasses. Yes, he was paired with Schultz, but he did not look like the top pair defender we fans all believe him to be early in the season. I truly believe he is not yet ready to shoulder the tough assignments on the top pair, hence, why he pairs with Demers in favorable minutes on the second pair, and then have Sekera and Hamonic do the heavy lifting up top.

        Obviously I’m not the coach or anything, just trying to think what makes the most sense based on pairings as opposed to individual players.

  • MacT's Neglected Helmet

    He only costs money.

    Free agent dmen pickings are pretty slim this year (they always are!). Chia should try to sign him. It would be a slight overpayment, but you gotta pay both the Free Agent tax and the Edmonton tax.

    I’m thinking something like… $4.25M x 3 years? Or maybe a bit less cap hit for more term (e.g. $3.75M x 5 years).

    Sekera was a very good signing last year. Do it again.

  • camdog

    Demers is a little better with the puck than Petry but not as physical. If you didn’t like Petry’s game, odds are you are really not going to like Demers game, especially given the price point.

  • daryl

    Don’t do it we need real upgrades not marginal ones. We have to do this by trades and keep our draft pick. Dubois is a big 6’3″ 205 lbs. center/winger who will do well in the west. Peter needs to get something like Hamonic and Shattenkirk/Vattanen and do it through trades please Peter don’t throw this pick away like you did last year with Reinhart.

  • Boom or Bust

    Meh. What’s the point. Pay the piper and bring in a real dynamite top D. I’m tired of these “what if ” guys. Plus we are stocked right up on mediocrity!!

  • Kevwan

    The Oilers need 2 Dmen. They need a 23+ min/gm shutdown D that can play against top competition.

    They also need a 2nd pair guy that can run a power play.

    Demers would be an upgrade but doesn’t really fit either role.

    Hamonic and Shattenkirk or Vatanen are better options.

  • BobbyCanuck

    I hope we do not over pay for a UFA defenseman

    I hope we do no trade one of the core for a D Man

    I hope we do not end up at the bottom of the league next year

    I hope we compete for a playoff spot next year

    Got to give to get

    • Randaman

      Don’t trade any of the core for D but got to give to get??

      Explain please

      Giving to get isn’t going to be Yak or Pouliot or Korpikoski you know and I would prefer not to trade the #4 pick if it can be helped. Dubois will be very good in two years

  • Speed Junky

    where is Jason Smith????

    is there no Shutdown Defensive guys left??

    get 2 left handed guys. I just want solid D

    who cares if they score 20 goals.

    Defending is the Name of the Game

  • Reg Dunlop

    I don’t understand the verbal about Davidson being a functional 3rd pairing D. I think he was our best D option last year. He even made Osterle look like a real NHLer. Our future is Davidson, Nurse and Klefbom. Players like Demers are not going to have a spike in performance and will never be a 1st pairing option. Chasing white whales in free agency does not work. Trades for top defenders are as rare as confirmed Bigfoot sightings. Unfortunately, the only choice is draft and develop. Davidson is a great template and I think he will be followed to the Oiler line-up by Simpson and one of Bear, Paigin or Jones. These players will certainly be cheaper and just as valuable as a Demers type, just not next year. It sucks eggs but patience has to be exercised. That is why a trade down to draft Chychrun and an extra second rounder should be considered. You can’t have too many defense prospects, and Chychrun would instantly be our best defence prospect in years.

    I guess it boils down to NO to Demers, maybe to players like Vatanen and Hamonic depending on what asset goes the other way and pray that Nurse and Davidson can figure it out soon. Sounds like a MacT strategy and for that I am truly sorry but I can’t see any shortcut here.

    • Seanaconda

      Problem is our left side is and will be fine and chychrun plays left. Also the reason davidson may be third pairing (they will probably split the left side minutes pretty evenly tho and give more to whoever is hot)

      If davidson or klefbom or even reinhart show they can play on their offside decently that would be a huge help.

      Off topic but the color commentator/play by play guy in the San Jose game must be in the running for worst I’ve ever heard.

  • JimmyV1965

    I hope the Oil have learned their lesson about FA dmen. They just don’t work out. Any dman who is decent will be signed by their own team. Like it or not, we will have to trade for any kind of difference maker on the back end. That or offer sheet someone.

    • monsterbater

      Zdeno Chara,
      Sergei Gonchar (to Pens),
      Scott Neidermeyer (to Ducks)

      Those are just 3 off the top of my head. No Demers is not in the same class as these guys, but “decent” Dmen do not always get signed by their team in a salary cap world.

      Also, perhaps a player just wants to test free agency and doesn’t want to resign. What a concept

  • GCW

    I wouldn’t read too much into his play with Russell. Russell drags his partners down.

    His play with Russell should be used to manage his price point, not write off the player.

  • madjam

    It would seem the UFA is a marketplace for them (players) to go to more established contending teams needing only a piece or two to round out an already good team . Most Ufa’s want to go to a contender or perceived one . We already have that overpayment on team with Sekara , and I do not believe another is warranted unless it be a top 1-2 defenseman .

  • TKB2677

    Great break down Gregor.

    I’m sure all the advanced stats guys wouldn’t totally agree with Gregor because the way they go on and on about him, he’s apparently ridiculously good.

    Would he be an upgrade on what the Oilers have? YES. But given what the scouts said, he sure sounds like a little bit better Mark Fayne. Hopefully they can get someone better than Demers

  • nuge2drai

    Oiler Domination To Follow

    Without Nuge, McDavid will not reach his full potential.

    We need a buffer for home match ups, can’t put Drai out there yet.

    Trade Ebs, Yak or the pick. Use the cap space.

    Do not trade away our best two way centre and a former #1 pick who is about to hit his prime.

    If traded we will all complain about how McDavid wasn’t properly insulated, and it’s incompetent management to send him up against top west centres every game, blah, blah, blah.

    Trading Nuge is NOT an option.