Sharks, Demers avoid arbitration with two-year, $6.8M deal


Jason Demers has been rewarded for his banner campaign.

Demers, who led all Sharks defensemen with a career-high 29 assists last year, has avoided salary arbitration by inking a two-year, $6.8 million extension with San Jose, the club announced on Wednesday.

“Jason has been a solid, offensive defenseman and is coming off a good season,” Sharks GM Doug Wilson said in a statement. “His skill set and his age mesh well within our overall group and we’re happy to have him signed for two more years.”

Demers, 26, has spent his entire career in the Bay Area and is one of the club’s better success stories — a seventh-round pick at the ’08 Draft, Demers was named the Sharks’ rookie of the year in 2009-10 and has steadily grown into one of their most valuable rearguards, averaging nearly 20 minutes per game last season.

In related news, San Jose also re-upped with another RFA defenseman on Wednesday — Taylor Doherty, the team’s second-round pick (57th overall) at the 2009 NHL Entry Draft. Doherty, 23, has yet to make his NHL debut (spending his entire professional career with AHL Worcester), but Wilson suggested that next year could be one in which Doherty cracks the bigs.

“Taylor is a big body who has developed his game over the last several years,” said Wilson. “We look forward to watching him compete to make our club this coming season.”

Isles claim goalie Berube off waivers

Evgeny Kuznetsov, Jaroslav Halak
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The New York Islanders have claimed goalie Jean-Francois Berube off waivers from the Los Angeles Kings, the club announced today.

Berube won the Calder Cup last season with AHL Manchester, but the 24-year-old has yet to appear in an NHL game.

That the Isles claimed Berube could be evidence that Jaroslav Halak will not be ready to start the season after all.

If that’s the case, Berube would back up Thomas Greiss, with Stephon Williams expected to go to the AHL.

The Isles open their regular season Friday at home versus the Blackhawks, then play the next day in Chicago.

Leafs claim Corrado from Canucks, waive Panik

Frank Corrado
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The Toronto Maple Leafs have claimed one of the more intriguing players placed on waivers — former Vancouver defenseman Frank Corrado.

Corrado, 22, was waived by the Canucks on Monday. The former OHL standout had appeared in 28 career games for Vancouver — including 10 last year — but was squeezed out of an NHL spot following the emergence of Ben Hutton, who surprised many onlookers by making the 23-man roster.

Canucks GM Jim Benning will receive criticism for losing an asset like Corrado for nothing. Several Vancouver pundits warned of exposing a young, promising d-man to waivers and those warnings ultimately proved accurate.

With Toronto, Corrado could push for playing time as the club indicated on Monday veteran d-man Sephane Robidas wouldn’t be with the team to start the year. That would leave the the Leafs with seven healthy blueliners: Dion Phaneuf, Jake Gardiner, Roman Polak, Morgan Rielly, Matt Hunwick, Martin Marincin and Scott Harrington, who can go to the minors without having to clear waivers.

Petter Granberg, another defenseman, is currently on IR.

In a corresponding move to the Corrado claim, the Leafs put forward Richard Panik on waivers. Panik, who Toronto plucked off waivers from Tampa Bay last year, appeared in 76 games for the Leafs, scoring 11 goals and 17 points.