The Sharks have agreed to a one-year contract extension with defenseman Jason Demers, the club announced on Thursday. The deal is worth $1.5 million, according to a source.
Demers was due to become a restricted free agent.
"Jason is a highly competitive, puck-moving defenseman that creates offense from the back end," GM Doug Wilson said in a statement. "We're looking forward to seeing him come back healthy and continuing his growth with us."
Demers had three points in 22 games with the Sharks in 2013 (1g, 2a), but played in just one playoff game due to a high left ankle sprain. He missed the first seven games of the shortened season due to a wrist injury suffered overseas during the NHL lockout, and four games from March 30-April 5 with a possible concussion after a hit to the head from Detroit’s Cory Emmerton.
“He’s a player we really like, he just needs to be healthy,” Wilson said. “He’ll have a great summer of training and come back and play the way he’s capable of, because he brings an element that we certainly like in our game.”
Demers played 30 games in Finland for Karpat during the lockout, scoring five goals and adding 16 assists for 21 points. He was injured in the Spengler Cup, just days before the NHL announced the end of the brutal work stoppage.
“Last year I had a lot of momentum coming in, especially overseas. It’s bad luck, or whatever you want to call it,” Demers said. “It just kind of spiraled from there. I still have some positive things to take from last year, and I’m going to apply those this summer and keep progressing and get better, and get to the player that I know I can be, and they know I can be.”
Demers had his best season as a professional in 2010-11, with 24 points (2g, 22a). Since then he’s had trouble staying healthy, but even when at 100 percent, Demers hasn’t been able to maintain a regular place in the Sharks’ lineup. This past season, he played just nine times in a 20-game stretch from Feb. 2 to March 16.
Demers said: “I just wanted to be back in San Jose. The last two years haven’t been the best. I’m just looking for a chance to prove myself, so it’s great to show me a vote of confidence like that. … I’m excited, and ready to go.”
Wilson was asked what Demers needs to do to stay in the lineup on a more regular basis.
“I think it’s just the consistency,” Wilson said. “I think with [coaches Larry Robinson and Jim Johnson] coming in, they really believe in him. … I think he was really playing well prior to him spraining his ankle.”
“He’s got a little risk-reward to his game, which we don’t mind, it’s just knowing when and where you can take those risks. We expect him to come back and have a really good year for us.”
The 25-year-old has 11 goals and 50 assists for 61 points and 81 penalty minutes in four seasons with the Sharks.
Sharks forward TJ Galiardi is the club’s only pending restricted free agent that ended last season on the NHL roster. On Wednesday, San Jose agreed to a two-year contract with Andrew Desjardins and a one-year deal with James Sheppard.
San Jose also re-signed forward Brodie Reid to a one-year contract. In 34 games with AHL Worcester in 2012-13, Reid, 23, had 10 goals and 11 assists for 21 points.
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Wilson mentioned there has been no decision yet on the position of Brent Burns. Next week, he plans to sit down with Burns and head coach Todd McLellan to discuss whether they would like the 28-year-old to play forward or defense in 2013-'14.