Editor's note: Over the next month, CSNCalifornia.com 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