Shark spotlight: Jason Demers


Shark spotlight: Jason Demers

Editor's note: Over the next month, Sharks Insider Kevin Kurz and Postgame Live reporter Brodie Brazil will evaluate the 2011-12 performance of each player on the roster. One breakdown will occur every weekday in numerical order.

Sharks spotlight -- the series
Sharks spotlight: Jason DemersAge: 24 DIn his third season in the NHL, all with the Sharks,defenseman Jason Demers had four goals and nine assists for 13 points and 22penalty minutes in 57 games. He was scoreless in three playoff games. Demershas one year remaining on his contract.Kurz says: It was a step backwards this season fordefenseman Jason Demers, after he put together a very respectable 2010-11campaign. His point total dropped from 24 to 13, while his plusminus ratingplummeted from a 19 to a team-worst -8 (among players who started the seasonwith the Sharks). The season began especially poorly, as after the openingnight blowout of Phoenix, Demers was a combined -6 in his next four games andwas pulled from the lineup for three games. Could it be that Demers was alittle too complacent entering the season, after his progress a year earlier?An upper body injury sidelined Demers at the start ofFebruary for eight games, but he still couldnt hold down his spot in thelineup upon his return and was scratched for two of the five playoff games inthe first round.SLIDESHOW: Grading the Sharks
Brodie says: This past season was Jasons first in four pro years wherehe ended up as a minus player.Historically, that has happened only twice before in his career (juniorhockey) dating back to 2004-2005. Nodoubt, October was the rough point, as he finished -6 in the calendarmonth. It is not to base everything on asingle stat; but plusminus reflects some of the struggles the defensemanendured in his second full NHL campaign.It also points out that they are uncharacteristic in the span of hiscareer so far. With that said, Jasons value was also apparent by thenumbers. He was responsible with thepuck coming out of San Joses end, having one of the bettergiveaway-to-takeaway ratios for a blueliner.Additionally, he maintained discipline, taking just 11 penalties (allminors), while averaging almost 17 minutes in each of the 57 games heplayed. Demers was also part of a PowerPlay unit which finished the season 2nd in the NHL. Jasons season was a learning experience. Self-admittedly, he had to go back to thedrawing board and revisit things, which made him successful in seasonsprior. That introspection in itself cancontinue to be very valuable moving forward in months and years to come. It was nothing out of the ordinary that mostyoung players experience through the initial stages of their career. 2012-13 expectationsKurz says: Demers turns 24 in two days, so there isobviously still plenty of time for him to improve. After all, Justin Braun madetremendous strides this past season and is a year older than Demers. Still, theSharks coaching staff and front office has to be wondering just what they willget out of the blueliner next season. Will he take the strides they expectedhim to take this season, or will he continue to regress?
The market is pretty thin for NHL defensemen this offseasonin terms of free agents, and depending on what the Sharks do and how much faiththey have in some of their own up-and-comers (Nick Petrecki?), it wouldnt besurprising to see Demers moved for either a pick or a prospect at or before theNHL draft.RELATED: Demers stats splits game logs
Brodie says: At 23, Jason was the youngest defenseman on San Josesroster this season, and even considering the inevitable personnel changes, itsvery possible he could hold that same title come October.This will no doubt be a important campaign for Demers,personally. Optimally he, very much likethe collective team, would like to move on from a season in which reality didnot match expectations. Not exactly toforget the year, but to encapsulate it, learn from it, and move on. Coaches often talk about maturing players specializing ordefining their game during a period of time; this is a development which couldbe good for Demers. To gain a specificreputation over the coming season, would be the next step in his career, in thesame way that Marc Edouard Vlasic became better known for his defensive prowessthis season. The upside here, Jason hasthe skill-set, age, and potential to be known for a lot of things, its justa matter of which area he focuses on.Up next: Justin Braun

Play of Jones, Khudobin this season proof of how fickle goaltending can be


Play of Jones, Khudobin this season proof of how fickle goaltending can be

Martin Jones was a Boston Bruin for less than a week.

The “Original Six” franchise acquired Jones from the Los Angeles Kings on June 26, 2015. Four days later, Jones was traded back into the Pacific Division, this time to Northern California.

The Sharks gave up a first round pick and prospect Sean Kuraly for Jones. It seemed like a fairly high price at the time, but it’s one San Jose was happy to pay: No goalie started more games than Jones over the last two seasons, and the team signed him to a five-year extension this summer.

The first Jones trade in 2015 set off a flood of goalie transactions, as five netminders were traded during Jones’ extremely brief Boston tenure. One of those was Anton Khudobin, who will start for the Bruins as Jones backs up Aaron Dell against  his “former team” on Saturday night.

Khudobin was traded from Carolina to Anaheim, where he started seven games before getting sent down to the AHL. He then signed with Boston in 2016, returning to his former club as the Bruins tried to fill the hole that trading Jones left behind entrenched starter Tuukka Rask.

Jones and Khudobin will have taken vastly different paths to their respective creases on Saturday night. The former enters the game as his club’s undisputed franchise goalie, and the latter the unheralded backup.

Naturally then, Khudobin’s been the better goaltender this season.

Among the 46 goalies that have played 200 five-on-five minutes this season, Khudobin’s .962 five-on-five save percentage was the best entering Saturday, according to Corsica.  So, too, is his .954 save percentage off of high-danger shots.

Jones, meanwhile, ranks 27th (.920) and 14th (.833) in those respective categories.

What does it all mean? For one, it’s early in the season, and the fact that Khudobin’s made seven fewer starts undoubtedly plays a role in his superior performance to Jones.

Mainly, it speaks to just how fickle goaltending can be.

The Bruins backup is arguably getting the nod Saturday night because of how bad the man ahead of him has been. Rask, once one of the league’s best goaltenders, has steadily declined over the last three years and reached a new low this season: This year, he’s 40th out of 46 qualifying goalies in five-on-five save percentage.

Jones has demonstrated this, too. He’s stopped a lower percentage of low-and-medium danger shots at even strength than the last two seasons, but has stopped a higher percentage of high-danger shots.

Plus, he’s played behind one of the league’s best penalty-killing teams after playing behind one of its worst last season, and has benefitted from a corresponding bump in his shorthanded save percentage.

So much of what a goalie does is out of their control. Yet who’s playing in front of them, what kind of shots they see, and how often they see those shots all can affect their performance.

Khudobin and Jones are living proof of that this season.

Sharks fall to Bruins for second straight loss


Sharks fall to Bruins for second straight loss


SAN JOSE -- Anton Khudobin stopped 36 shots to lead the Boston Bruins to a 3-1 victory over the San Jose Sharks on Saturday night.

Peter CehlarikJake DeBrusk and Danton Heinen scored to help the Bruins get their second straight win after a four-game skid (0-3-1). Boston had totaled nine goals in its previous five games, scoring more than two for just the second time in nine November games.

Khudobin remained unbeaten in regulation (5-0-2) and improved to 4-1 with a 0.99 goals-against average in five games against the Sharks.

Timo Meier scored and Aaron Dell finished with 18 saves for the Sharks, one of the lowest scoring teams in the league. San Jose has been held to two of fewer goals in five of their seven games this month.

Meier gave the Sharks, losers of two straight following wins in six of seven, a short-lived 1-0 lead after tapping in a rebound 4:50 into the game. Daniel O'Regan, making his season debut, won the puck behind the net and skated around to take the shot that bounced to Meier. It was O'Regan's first career assist and second career point.

Cehlarik, in his 14th game, scored his first career goal about 1 1/2 minutes later to tie it for the Bruins.

Boston took the lead on DeBrusk's goal with 9:14 left in the first. Charlie McAvoy cleared a puck in his zone that DeBrusk chased down and easily beat Dell 1-on-1.

Heinen made it 3-1 with 5:51 left in the third. Kevan Miller skated down the ice, drawing all the attention on the right side. He passed across the crease, from where Heinen tapped it in.

The Sharks had a goal negated for the second straight game, this one two minutes in.

NOTES: Sharks F Danny O'Regan was recalled before the game. He's the leading scorer for the Barracuda of the AHL. ... The Sharks have had three consecutive goals reversed after challenges dating to Thursday's game against the Florida Panthers. ... Sharks F Joel Ward has recorded points in six of his last eight games. ... DeBrusk, who assisted on Cehlarik's goal, recorded his first multi-point game since Oct. 14, a span of 14 games.


Bruins: At the New Jersey Devils on Wednesday night.

Sharks: Host the Anaheim Ducks on Monday night.