Demers ready, but who will sit?
Share This Post

SAN JOSE – Jason Demers could make his season debut as soon as Thursday against Edmonton, after missing the first six games with a fractured wrist he suffered while playing abroad during the NHL lockout.

“I feel good. I’m ready to go, and the team is obviously rolling, and that’s great,” Demers said. “The coaches know that I want to play, so it’s up to them. I’m ready whenever they need me.”

Demers would presumably play ahead of rookie Nick Petrecki, who made his NHL debut in Tuesday’s 3-2 shootout win over Anaheim. Dan Boyle also missed that game with the flu, and was absent for practice on Wednesday as well, so his status for Thursday’s home game is uncertain.

If Demers returns on Thursday and Boyle has recovered, the Sharks will have a decision to make on their blue line with eight healthy defensemen, and would likely have to choose one of Matt Irwin, Justin Braun or Douglas Murray to sit.

“We want tough decisions,” Todd McLellan said. “We want to be able to be challenged as a staff to look at the other team’s lineup, and look at what we’re doing, and pick somebody to bring out.

“Sometimes you come out just because of the opposition and the way they set up. Sometimes you come out because other guys have to come in and get playing, and sometimes you’re not very good and you come out. There are a number of different reasons why you come out of the lineup.”

Demers, who played primarily in Finland during the lockout, is eager to return. He was hurt after getting slashed in the Spengler Cup final while playing for Team Canada against Joe Thornton’s HC Davos club on Dec. 31.

“I’m pretty anxious,” Demers said. “I played over in Europe for 30 games, so I’m getting cabin fever a bit.”

To make room for Demers on the roster, the Sharks waived forward Frazer McLaren, who will be reassigned to Worcester if he clears. McLaren has not played since opening night in Calgary.

Brent Burns (lower body) continued to skate with the team on Wednesday at HP Pavilion, but there is still no timetable for his return.