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Demers is Turning Heads on Defense

by San Jose Sharks Staff / San Jose Sharks
As the curtain lifted for opening night, many were surprised to see Jason Demers on the Sharks roster. There were many projections that he would be just one of many defensemen rotating in the position on a shuttle from Worcester.

The problem is Demers never got the memo. The second-year pro finagled his way into opening night and has not left the spot.

The fact that Demers grabbed a roster spot with his play in the preseason is one thing. That he kept it once the real games began is another.

“He was impressive in every preseason game,” said Sharks defenseman Dan Boyle. “You’re watching to see if he has a bad game and he really didn’t.”

Demers has one factor that sticks out to his teammates.

“He’s probably more poised that the other guys fighting for the spot,” said Boyle. “I like his poise for a young player. He makes good outlet passes.”

Poise can mean a lot of things, but Boyle noted Demers seems mentally strong.

“He doesn’t panic like young guys,” said Boyle. “Even some of us older guys panic sometimes.”

When facing an attacking forechecker, Demers has the ability to hold onto the puck until something develops.

“I try to hold onto the puck longer,” said Demers. “Sometimes you don’t want to chip it off the boards.

While he is making his presence felt on the power play, Demers is strong in his all-around game.

“He’s not one or the other,” said Boyle of whether Demers would be categorized as an offensive or defensive player. “He’s well balanced.”

So when did it become evident that Demers would be around for a while and not bouncing back and forth through from the AHL like many young players do?

“Probably a couple of games into the regular season,” said Boyle. “The preseason is one thing, but he was playing against full lineups two to three games in and that is probably when it hit me.”

On the power play, Demers has seen a lot of action with Boyle. While at even strength, Kent Huskins is his regular partner.

“He’s played great for as young as he is,” said Huskins. “He competes hard and has a lot of enthusiasm. I really enjoy playing with him.”

If Demers makes it one month into the season, then by NHLPA rules, the Sharks would need to direct him whether he should stay in the hotel or whether he’s need to consider finding a permanent housing option. Right now Demers is just looking at the scenario as it is.

“I’ll take a hotel room here over an apartment in Worcester,” said Demers.

McLellan gave Joe Thornton a maintenance day, so the big guy had a day away from the rink. In his place for the day of practice was Joe Pavelski. McLellan noted “Big Joe” would be ready for Friday’s game so there is no expected change in the lineup.

The practice line did allow the two Wisconsin products to practice together on a line though.

“Two out of three isn’t bad,” quipped Heatley. “We’ll have to get (Thornton) an honorary degree.”

“It was fun to get out there and skate,” said Pavelski. “I feel pretty good, but my conditioning needs to get a little better.”

Pavelski plans to travel with the team when they depart for another East Coast trip, however, that does not mean there is a timetable for his return.

“I’m going on the trip and practice with the guys,” said Pavelski. “That is the next step.”

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