After a below average season from Jason Demers last year, the Florida Panthers are hoping for a bounce back from the 29-year-old.
The Panthers brought in Demers last summer, in order to add another puck moving defenseman to their blue line. While Jason flourished offensively (9G, 19A, 28P), he didn’t quite do the same defensively.
On the defensive end, Demers struggled to win puck battles along the boards, often getting outmuscled by his opponent. His lack of grit became a notorious flaw under his game, in which fans picked up on it quickly. On the other hand, his defensive numbers weren’t as strong as many thought they would be.
Firstly, Jason ended the year with a GA60 (Goals Against Per 60 Minutes) of 2.71. When you take a look at the other relative measurement (GF60), his goals for per 60 minutes was only 2.09. That’s not a difference you want to see from a top 4 pairing. So, what do the two figures show? The figures show that Demers gives up (or is on the ice for) 2.71 goals per 60 minutes, while scoring (or being on the ice for) 2.09 goals per 60 minutes. Essentially (really), he’s giving up more goals per 60 minutes, then he is scoring goals.
Secondly, for the fans who aren’t into analytics, you can always look at the SF (Shots For) and SA (Shots Against) figures. During the 81 games that Jason suited up for the Cats, he was on the ice for 607 SF (shots for). On the flip side, Demers was on the ice for 667 SA (Shots Against). Overall, he was on the ice for more shots against his team, then he was on the ice for more shots in favor for his team.
Lastly, just to throw this in, I’ll even list his CF60 (Corsi For Per 60 Minutes) and his CA60 (Corsi Against Per 60 Minutes). Not that Corsi is a defensive measuring tool, but I thought I would just mention that Jason’s CF60 was 51.42%, while his CA60 was 53.52%. Again, for a top 4 pairing and a defenseman who is expected to produce on both ends of the ice, it just isn’t looking that way. Even the analytics show it, and I know very well that most in the Panthers community despise of this measuring tool, which is fine.
For a defenseman who holds a cap hit of $4.5 million, you’d expect his defensive game to be above average (almost polished). Looking back on Jason’s year last season, we can honestly say that his defending was below average.
If Demers wants to continue playing for the Florida Panthers, he’ll need to improve his game on the defensive end. The team cannot have a $4.5 million dollar guy who cannot defend. It just goes without saying.
Contributing offensively is important, but as a defenseman, your number one priority is protecting your goal (defending). Come next season, if Jason doesn’t improve his defensive game, then don’t be surprised if he’s shipped out (via trade).
Jason Demers has a big year coming up. It seems that he has found his footing offensively, but not defensively. We hope that he can take the next step, and provide better efficiency on the blue line. It will all come down to his defensive game, which will determine whether he remains on the team or not.