Demers is a second-pairing defender who can do it all for the Panthers, and he experienced an improvement in productivity last season, totaling a career-high nine goals along with 28 points while playing in all situations. He’s also a right-hand shot, which gives him even more value, but the 29-year-old is no threat to overtake Aaron Ekblad on the depth chart. Even though the team performed poorly, Demers’ production never really suffered aside from his rating (a career-worst minus-14), so he’s expected to play the same role and provide similar offensive contributions for the upcoming season. There’s some fantasy value in that, at least in deeper formats.
After parlaying parlayed 45 points in 123 games over most of two seasons with the Stars into a five-year deal with the Panthers, Demers is expected to slide into a top-four role on Florida’s retooled blue line. The 28-year-old defenseman has the skills to chip in consistently on offense, and his plus-27 rating over the past three seasons – particularly impressive when you take into account the Stars’ lack of commitment to defense in recent seasons – suggests that he’s turned into an excellent two-way player. There’s little reason to expect a decline, as Demers is just hitting his prime on what promises to be a contending team, but his fantasy upside is limited.
Traded to the Stars early on in the 2014-15 season, Demers was a serviceable top-four defender and second-unit power-play member for his new team, contributing 22 points in 61 games. The former Shark supplemented the scoring with 71 PIM while chipping in 118 hits and 85 blocks. The 34 points Demers put up in 2013-14 could very well prove to be a career mark, but the 27-year-old certainly isn’t afraid to jump into the rush, and is a capable playmaker in the offensive zone when the opportunity presents itself. The addition of Johnny Oduya could at least allow Demers to see a small increase in offensive involvement, as it’s possible the former Blackhawk could become his new partner, taking on more of the net clearing and shot blocking responsibilities while Demers pursues more scoring chances.
Demers really blossomed as a player last season. He hit career-high numbers in goals (five), assists (29), penalty minutes (30) and shots (105). He was also one second shy, at 19:29, of a career mark in average time on ice. The 26-year-old defenseman took a huge step forward last year, but be wary of assuming too much from his growth. It was a great season, but it may be a what-you-see-is-what-you-get situation. Expect numbers close to his 2013-14 totals, but nothing much more than that. Demers gets some power play time, but really hasn't been all that productive there. He's a solid depth player for fantasy, but his upside is limited. He's not your sleeper pick this year.
Demers was a mainstay at the San Jose blue line for the first half of the 2013 season before a foot injury sidelined him in April. Up until that point, he was averaging 18:38 in ice time with a goal and two assists in those 22 games. That production is anemic compared to his previous 58 points in 183 games, so the question is out there -- was this an anomaly or has his role permanently changed? Honestly, we don't know the answer. We don't see why you'd want to take a risk on Demers now until the answer becomes clearer. He’s a young player whose role is sure to grow. But if it grows to the point of fantasy relevance, you can probably pick him up off waivers.
Demers will battle Justin Braun for playing time this year. Both have offensive upside, but neither will get many opportunities to show it off in the 6/7 spot. Braun may have the initial edge to start in the top-six, but Demers will be barking at his tail the whole season. The Sharks' defense is so remarkably deep this year. He'll get a chance to play on the second power-play unit (that is, if he earns the job). but with Dan Boyle and Brent Burns as locks to run both units most nights, that ice time will be thin, too. However, don't ignore Demers entirely as there will come a point during the season where he'll go on a little offensive burst. Your team will benefit if you can catch that lightning in a bottle.
With so many serviceable fantasy options making up the Sharks' roster, Demers tends to fly under the radar. But he took a big leap in 2010-11, notching 24 points (2 G, 22 A) to complement a shiny, plus-19 rating, the best of any Sharks skater. Also of significance, Demers saw his average ice time climb from 15:25 in 2009-10 to 19:29 last season. He's an emerging offensive threat on Team Teal's blue line and someone worth considering in the later rounds of standard fantasy leagues.
Demers is arguably the fastest rising player dressed in teal. He had 17 helpers in his rookie season, while averaging 15:26 of ice time through 51 games. Better yet, the team from the Bay Area secured his services with a two-year contract extension this past offseason, a likely indication that Team Teal has big plans for No. 60 in 2010-11. He has sleeper status written all over.