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

Sharks conclude 2017 NHL Draft with five more forwards in the system

Sharks conclude 2017 NHL Draft with five more forwards in the system

CHICAGO – After nabbing a center in the first round on Friday, the Sharks added four more forwards and one defenseman to conclude the second day of the annual NHL Entry Draft on Saturday, held this year at United Center.

The Sharks weren’t explicitly trying to restock their forward cabinet, according to general manager Doug Wilson and scouting director Tim Burke, although the club did make two separate moves in surrendering some later round picks to move up in the fourth round (to take center Scott Reedy) and sixth round (to take left wing Sasha Chmelevski).

First, though, it was defenseman Mario Ferraro in the second round at 49th overall. The offensive defenseman was a player that the Sharks targeted, using the pick they acquired from New Jersey last Friday as part of the trade for Mirco Mueller.

“He’s got a lot of speed, offensive guy, exciting,” Burke said. “Puck-moving type of guy.”

Wilson said: “We’re very pleased with the d-man. He’s a very dynamic, athletic guy, great skater. He was a guy that we moved up a little bit aggressively to get because that round, you could see people going after who they wanted. He is a guy that we identified.”

After moving up from the fifth round to the fourth round last Friday, again because of the Mueller trade, the Sharks jumped up 21 more spots in the fourth round by obtaining the Rangers pick at 102nd overall for the 123rd and 174th selections.

Center Scott Reedy is a player that Burke has high hopes for, projecting the Minnesota native as a “second line right winger [with] high-end potential.” Burke pointed out that Reedy, who is friends with first round pick Josh Norris, occasionally played on the same line with Norris for each of the last two seasons with the U.S. Under-18 team.

“He’s a big, strong forward that can play both positions (center and right wing),” Burke said.

Right wing Jacob McGrew, an Orange, CA native, went to the Sharks in the fifth round despite missing all of his first season in junior with a lower body injury suffered in training camp with Spokane (WHL).

“We knew about him before he went up there,” Burke said. “He’s a California kid. … If he was healthy he probably would have gone earlier.”

The Sharks again moved up to snag Huntington Beach native and center Chmelevski at 185 overall, and made their sixth and final pick in the 212th position by taking left wing Ivan Chekhovich in the seventh round. Both players look to have some offensive skill, based on their numbers and Youtube highlights.

Burke was surprised that both players were around so late.

“I thought they had pretty good years and they kind of slipped in the draft,” he said. “We weighed that versus some other more project-type guys, and we thought they had more offense and finish to their game. They just kept sliding, so we took a chance on them.”

Wilson said: “We moved up for the guys we wanted, and then there were some skilled guys at the end that we were surprised were still there. … We’ll go back and take a look how it all went, but we feel, I think, really good about where we ended up with this.”

Sharks coach DeBoer had 'good relationship' with Kovalchuk

Sharks coach DeBoer had 'good relationship' with Kovalchuk

CHICAGO – Ilya Kovalchuk is still reportedly mulling over a return to the NHL, four years after he surprisingly walked away from a monstrous contract with the New Jersey Devils to play in the KHL.

The Sharks have been linked to Kovalchuk, in large part because of Pete DeBoer, who was Kovalchuk’s most recent head coach. In 2011-12, Kovalchuk was a dangerous scoring winger under DeBoer, helping the Devils reach the Stanley Cup Final.

It was apparently a good working relationship between the player and the coach for the two seasons they were together, DeBoer said on Friday at the NHL Entry Draft at United Center.

“I loved Kovy in New Jersey,” DeBoer said. “We went to a Stanley Cup Final together. He was a huge piece for us there. I really enjoyed coaching him. I haven’t seen him in four or five years now. I’m sure there’s still a lot of game left there.”

DeBoer said he’s had no contact with the 34-year-old Kovalchuk, who would have to be traded by New Jersey before signing a new contract with any other NHL club. Still, it seems like the Sharks’ coach might welcome a reunion with Kovalchuk, who posted 78 points in 60 games with SKA Saint Petersburg last season, and has 816 points (417g, 399a) in 816 career NHL games with Atlanta and New Jersey.

“I had a really good relationship with him. I had a lot of respect for him as a player and a person,” DeBoer said.

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DeBoer seemed as uncertain as everyone else as to whether Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau will return to the Sharks or move on to other clubs as free agents.

But, naturally, it’s on his mind.

“You think about it all the time,” DeBoer said. “They’re obviously important pieces in the history of the franchise, and in our group. I also understand the business side of this, and there’s always tough decisions to make. The way I approach these type of things is I’m going to go to Canada and relax, and Doug [Wilson] is going to make those decisions. I’m sure we’ll have a good group come training camp.”

“We’ve got a really good core group of guys and some tough decisions that have to be made. The one thing Doug and his group has shown over the years is their ability to stay competitive, to find a way even after making tough decisions. I have all the faith in the world in that, and I’m excited about training camp.”

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The Sharks lost David Schlemko in the expansion draft earlier in the week. Vegas then flipped him to the Canadiens for a fifth round pick in 2019.

“I think for David, it’s a great opportunity for him, especially going to Montreal,” DeBoer said. “For us, it’s an opportunity for a young guy to jump in. The one thing we have in the organization is some depth. There’s a lot of guys knocking on the door, and guys hungry to grab that job.”