Jason Demers had his best season as a San Jose Shark. He had career-highs in goals (5) and assists (29) for a total of 34 points.
He was also a +14 on the year. However, he only had a disappointing one point and plus-minus rating of -4 in the playoffs.
I’m going to do this review a bit backwards, because Jason Demers has always been under scrutiny for me.
Quite frankly, I never understood what Sharks fans found so great about him. I kept hearing he was a great up and coming defenseman because of his puck-moving ability, but I never saw it. And that feeling stuck with me to the beginning part of this year. More often than not, Demers would turn the puck over in the defensive zone, pinch too much in the offensive zone, or just be downright out of position and it would lead to goals.
About once a week, I would think to myself “Why are they playing Demers when they have Matt Irwin scratched? There’s no way Irwin would make the mistakes Demers is making.”
Because of his awful defensive play, I just accepted the fact that I only needed to deal with one more year of Jason Demers before the Sharks finally got rid of him, and made him some other teams problem. He just wasn’t cutting it defensively.
However, something changed with the play of Jason Demers.
As the season went on, he became less interested with making the flashy play so he could get points that often resulted in embarrassing turnovers, and he became much more interested in just making the right play. He became better with the puck, and knew that sometimes you could pass it back into your zone instead of forcing something for an odd-man rush.
He stopped over pinching for a chance to get a goal or get on the score sheet, and he started staying where he should be defensively, and making the smart plays. During the second half of the season, I was extremely impressed with Demers. I felt that he was third 3rd best defenseman, and that’s the best praise you’re going to get when you’re playing behind Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Justin Braun.
There’s no doubt in my mind the Sharks should sign Demers to a much longer deal this offseason. His play down the stretch was too good to go unrewarded, and on a team with such defensive issues as the Sharks had last year, him becoming a great young defenseman was a much-needed sight.
It turns out that there is literally no video of this moment, or at least, I can’t find it.
But the best moment of Jason Demers’ season was his best play of the postseason. It came in Game 1 against the Kings, and it came on the powerplay. The Kings were fighting to get a chance shorthanded, when Jason Demers skated back and made an excellent defensive play to get the puck back. He fed the puck up to Vlasic, Vlasic gave it to Couture, Couture gave it to Tomas Hertl, Hertl gave it back to Vlasic, and Vlasic went five-hole on Jonathan Quick to give the Sharks an 4-0 lead.
All of that happened because of the great defensive play made by Jason Demers. He did not get an assist on the play, but he sure deserved one.