Demers inked a five-year, $22.5 million contract with the Panthers on Saturday, Chris Johnston of Sportsnet reports. The Panthers have been extremely active in the early goings of free agency and now add Demers, who was sought-after in the beginning of Friday's frenzy. The 28-year-old blueliner spent the past two seasons with Dallas, notching 12 goals and 33 assists in over 20 minutes of ice time per game. The 2008 seventh-round pick decided to hit the open market with several prospects at AHL Texas itching for their chance, and the move paid off. Demers bolsters a solid combination of defenseman in Florida that already includes Keith Yandle and Aaron Ekblad leading the charge.
Demers is expected to test the open market as an unrestricted free agent this summer, per Stars general manager Jim Nill, ESPN's Craig Custance reports. The Stars have an abundance of talented defensemen waiting in the wings of minor-league affiliate AHL Texas, including top prospects Julius Honka and Patrik Nemeth, so this makes players like Demers expendable. Demers, who collected 45 points (12 goals, 33 assists) with the Stars over the last two seasons, banked $6.8 million after Dallas signed him to a two-year deal ahead of the 2014-15 season.
Demers picked up two assists in Wednesday's 3-2 win over the Wild. Demers has three assists in the last two games after being stifled in Dallas during games 1 and 2. He brings just enough offense to keep defenses honest, and has ridden the Stars'superiority to a plus-3 rating this series after finishing with a plus-16 mark in the regular season.
Demers (shoulder) is considered healthy ahead of Saturday's season finale contest against Nashville. Demers isn't a lock to play in the contest at this point, but he'll be available if Stars coach Lindy Ruff wants to see how he looks in the final game before the playoffs begin. Conservative fantasy owners will want to line up alternatives in case it's ultimately announced that Demers will miss his 14th straight contest for extra rest.
Coach Lindy Ruff indicated Wednesday that Demers (shoulder) "is real close" to returning to the lineup. No official timetable has been placed on the blueliner, but it sounds as though there is a legitimate shot of him returning before the regular season concludes. The team should continue to update the blueliner's status when he's nearing a return, so those interested should check back over the next couple days.
Last 7 Games
|3 Year Avg||73||6||22||27||9||2||0||1||0||0||123.5|