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 www.ownthepuck.blogspot.ca, is how they compare:
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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