The Sharks have agreed to terms on a new two-year contract with Jason Demers, the defenseman confirmed via text message to CSNCalifornia.com.
The deal is worth an average of $3.4 million per season, or $6.8 million total, according to Elliotte Friedman of Hockey Night in Canada. It allows both sides to avoid an arbitration hearing for the 26-year-old blueliner, who was a restricted free agent. Demers made $1.5 million last season.
Demers, who could have been an unrestricted free agent as soon as next summer, said: "I’m really excited. The Sharks have given me so much in my NHL career so far. They’re the ones that gave me the chance. To get a two-year deal is a nice feeling to see they’re behind me. It’s a moment of pride for me.”
"We think he’s entering into the beginning of the prime of his career, and we expect him to grow even more as a player," general manager Doug Wilson said. "We are pleased he committed to two years to us, and I think that worked well for all parties.”
Last season, Demers had a career-high 34 points (5g, 29a) in 75 games with a +14 rating. The Sharks' 2009-10 rookie of the year, the six-foot-one, 195-pound Quebec native has 95 points (16g, 75a) in 280 career games.
The Sharks also announced that 23-year-old prospect defenseman Taylor Doherty has agreed to a one-year contract. Despite the re-signing of Scott Hannan and moving Brent Burns back to defense, Wilson stressed that there will still be an opportunity for the younger players like Doherty to crack the NHL roster.
“We believe in these young players," Wilson said. "It would have been nice to see Matt Tennyson and Taylor get more games last year, but they didn’t. We know that they’re ready. The big body of Taylor at six-foot-seven and 235 [pounds] is something that we can look for. ... There’s opportunity there. As I said before, [if] the young players step up and they’re ready, they will play.”
Doherty has yet to make his NHL debut after he was drafted in the second round of the NHL Entry Draft in 2009. He has 16 points (1g, 15a) and 143 penalty minutes in 103 games in two-plus seasons with Worcester (AHL).