Much has changed for San Jose Sharks defenseman Jason Demers in a single season. He went from being a solid two-way defender with the potential to be a future fixture on the Sharks' blue line to unreliable and a bit of a liability in his own zone.
Demers seemed to backtrack this season after showing vast improvement from his first NHL season to last season.
This season Demers put up just 13 points and was a minus-eight after finishing with 24 points and a plus-19 the previous year.
When the Sharks were eliminated from the 2010-11 playoffs by the Vancouver Canucks, many felt they would have faired better in the series has Demers been healthy enough to play. His above-average skating ability and good offensive instincts made him a type of player the Sharks needed in the line-up to be successful.
For whatever reason, Demers reverted to a lot of old habits that got him in trouble in his rookie season. He started pinching in at bad times offensively which led to odd man rushes and leaving his defense partner out to dry a lot.
His offensive numbers took a hit but he wasn't as sharp in his own zone either. The physical aspect of his game seemed to slip a bit and for someone who's a good puck-handler he committed far too many poor passes that resulted in takeaways.
The injury bug did limit Demers to just 57 games this season so he never got regular playing time under his belt this year.
There's no reason to believe that he couldn't turn things around next season. Fortunately for the Sharks, Demers is signed for the next two years at a very convenient and affordable $1.25 million and is only 23 years old so he's got plenty of room for improvement.
If he can go back to the player of two seasons ago the Sharks will have improved without making a single move. The only question is which Demers will show up?
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