After signing Keith Yandle and keeping him away from unrestricted free agency and inking 20-year-old defenseman Aaron Ekblad to a massive contract extension, the Florida Panthers then officially brought Jason Demers to their club on Saturday.
When Demers looked at Florida’s defense, and the young, talented forwards up front, it seemed like a straightforward sell to the UFA blue liner on the direction the Panthers appear to be heading.
“I just always liked the team and liked that young core. Just playing against them the last few years, I like where they’re headed. It seemed like a good fit for me,” Demers told reporters in a conference call.
“It was kind of a no-brainer for me. I want to go somewhere where I have a chance to win.”
The Panthers have had a busy off-season, especially re-modelling their blue line.
Additions are Yandle, Demers, Mark Pysyk and Ian McCoshen, who signed an entry-level deal with the Panthers.
“I know they’re going to emphasize on a quick transition game and hopefully with the additions on the blue line, we can move the puck up quick to these skilled forwards,” said Demers.
When it comes to Demers’ point production, the numbers don’t jump off the page. His highest point total was 34 (5 G, 29 A) in 2013-14 when he was with the Sharks.
He had solid possession numbers this past season with Dallas and can play on both the penalty kill — he really enjoys playing on the penalty kill, too — and power play. Oh, and he has a right shot, too.
“The last couple of years, I’ve tried to focus on just being a good two-way defenseman. I want to help out offensively when I can but I just want to feed the transition and get the puck to our skilled forwards,” said Demers.
“The more we have the puck, the less they do and the more chances we’ll get.”