Jason Demers' future has been a topic of discussion all summer. Hearing FLA/ARIZ working on a deal the sends him west for Jamie McGinn.— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) September 17, 2017
Instead of acquiring the entire $4.5M cap hit for the next four years, the Panthers are retaining 12.5% of Demers’ salary, leaving the Coyotes with Demers’ cap hit at $3,937,500, and $17.4M in cap space.
This is the right move to make, especially if you’re considering the Coyotes have to break the bank for Tobias Rieder, Anthony Duclair and Max Domi if they break out this season in the last year of their contracts.
McGinn, 29, scored just nine goals and 17 points in 72 games. He averaged his second worst shot attempt differential in his career, at 45.14% CF while playing bottom six minutes in 16/17. Now with an open spot on the right wing, Jordan Martinook or Lawson Crouse might slot up on the third line, while Brad Richardson plays either wing on the fourth line.
What will the Coyotes have in Jason Demers? Another shot suppression monster. This is quite the upgrade, especially since Chyrchrun will be out for some time. Demers played the third most 5on5 ice time and managed a shot attempt differential of 49% CF.
That number was his second worst in his career, and couldn’t necessarily hold his own without his most frequent defense partner in Keith Yandle, where Demers dropped to 48% while Yandle increased to over 51%. But he’s just under 50%, and can definitely see his numbers over 50% in 17/18 under Rick Tocchet’s system.
Where does Demers slot in now?
Probably the second pairing with Goligoski, until Chychrun comes back from his recovery. The Coyotes have built up bolstered their right side of defense in the past 15 months. Goligoski will find his way on the third pairing eventually.
Chyrchrun will play his sophomore year on the left side with a shot suppression ace in Jason Demers, Niklas Hjalmarsson is an important shot suppressor who Stan Bowman shouldn’t have traded, and Oliver Ekman-Larsson will likely find a new level to his game this season.
This will likely make it a whole lot easier for the new starter in Antti Raanta. He won’t have a huge workload because of Hjalmarsson and Demers, and a new system headed by Rick Tocchet could see the Coyotes be a more dominant team, especially with a younger team that might be looking to make the playoffs this year.