Jason Demers Takes Deal in Florida

The Florida Panthers have landed right-handed defenseman Jason Demers on a deal reportedly carrying a $4.5 million AAV over four years.

“We are excited to sign Jason and we are thrilled that he chose Florida,” general manager Tom Rowe said. “He will play an integral role on our blue line and will help our transition game and special teams. This is another important signing for us this offseason.”

Many reports indicate that Demers took a discount to go play in Florida with a rising team and a potent defensive ensemble. The discount may have had something to do with the non-existent income tax at the state level in Florida, something both the Panthers and Lightning have been able to exploit in recent weeks.

Demers spent last season playing 62 games with the Dallas Stars, who had acquired him in a trade with the San Jose Sharks the season before. He put up seven goals and 23 points with a 1.27% adjusted CF%Rel. That was the third-best relative possession mark among team defensemen and it came with the best shot suppression marks on the team while seeing more defensive zone starts than offensive zone starts.

That makes this a savvy pickup for the Panthers, who have a whole new look on their blue line this coming season. Brian Campbell left town, Willie Mitchell is expected to retire, Dmitry Kulikov was traded to Buffalo and Erik Gudbranson was shipped out to Vancouver. In their place, they’ve acquired and signed Keith Yandle, Jason Demers and Mark Pysyk, as well as getting Ian McCoshen on an entry-level deal. They’ve also put rising star Aaron Ekblad on an eight-year contract extension and look poised to have a great defensive group for years to come.