Fixing up the Oilers Defense – Jason Demers


So, in an attempt to find out if there is anything in the free agent market, I took a snoop at the best available right-handed defenseman, Jason Demers.

Now, at first glance, he’s a 6’1 200lb right-shit, 27 years old, good for .34ppg (28 points per year).  So, he looks like a decent option, but nothing spectacular at first, other than a good second pairing option.

As fans, the name everyone wants to see with the Oilers is Travis Hamonic, and we’ve seen many discussions of how he’d be a perfect fit here.  This, courtesy of, is how they compare:

Dashboard 1

What jumps out is that Demers is, without much debate, a better defenseman than Hamonic.  For that matter, his offense over 60 is even superior to Hamonic.  Although we talk about Hamonic as a shut-down guy, Demers does that better as well, and in the case of shot supression, far better.

Also, Demers posts these numbers on a run-and-gun hockey team that is always considered weak on the defensive end.  If Hamonic would be a solution for the Oilers, then there’s no question Demers would be one as well, and one that could easily play a top-pairing role.

Of course, the normal reply is “Well, there’s no way Dallas lets him go”, and that was the first thought that came up in debate.  However, when you look at Dallas’s cap next year…

With 27 contracts in place, Dallas has $56 million allocated to 9 forwards, 3 defensemen, and 2 goaltenders.  If the cap is around $71 million, that means Dallas has $15 million to spend on 5 forwards and 5 defensemen.  Out of that, the following positions must be addressed:

Vernon Fiddler – 4th line C

Patrick Eaves – 4th line RW

Valeri Nichushkin – 2nd line RW (RFA)

Alex Goligoski – 1st line LHD

Kris Russel – 2nd line LHD

Jason Demers – 2nd line RHD

Jordie Benn – 3rd line RHD

As well, Jamie Oleksiak is a pending RFA

That means Dallas has, as UFAs, 3 of their Top-4 on defense.  So, assuming Dallas gets Oleksiak and Nichushkin under contract for approximately $2.5 million each, we’re now at $10 million for Fiddler, Eaves, Goligoski, Russel, Demers and Benn.  Goligoski, as a top-pairing left-handed defenseman, can expect a contract of approximately $5 million.  That leaves $5 million for the remaining players.  If the Oilers were to offer Demers a 5-year, $6 million per year contract, it’s unlikely Dallas could match the offer.

Now, this would eventually leave the Oilers in a salary-cap situation as well, where one of the $6 million core would need to be dealt, however this should not prevent them from trying for Demers.  If the Oilers are looking for a defenseman such as Hamonic, Demers appears to be a better defenseman (if one that would be more expensive and a bit older).  If he can be obtained as a free agency, the Oilers have that many more assets to deal for present and future players.


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Micah Kowalchuk Written by:

  • Kepler62

    If MacT had just signed Petry all the defensive woes could be fixed easily this summer.

    Sekera – Hamonic/Demers

    Klefbom – Petry

    Davidson – Gryba


    Nurse and Reinhart in the minors where they should be until injury recall.

  • Kane Adamson

    You can’t seriously imply that Demers is better than Hamonic with that graph. That TOI/gm is a HUGE issue. He shows as an excellent top 4 option and I would love him beside Sekera on the second pairing but Hamonic lives and breaths in heavy competition playing more than anyone else on the team. We would run demers out like we ran petry out if we play him top pair

  • Susanne O’Donnell

    Great article Micah Kowalchuk, you give well rounded info (charts, caps, stats) to weight out those two players.