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.
28 years old in June.
6’1″ and 200 pounds.
UFA this summer.
Current salary: $3.65 million. (Cap hit of $3.4 milliion)
Icetime over his NHL career:
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.
HELP IF YOU CAN
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.
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