Jason Demers files for salary arbitration

Sharks defenseman was one of twenty NHL players who filed for arbitration today.

According to the NHL Players' Association, Sharks defenseman Jason Demers is among 20 restricted free agents who have filed for salary arbitration, a process that begins July 20th and ends August 4th. Demers made $1.4 million in salary last season in the second year of a two-year, $2.5 million contract signed in 2012. His 34 points in 2013-14 marked a career high and ranked second among San Jose defensemen, behind only Dan Boyle.

Demers was tendered a qualifying offer for $1.5 million but is unsurprisingly looking for more than that. If this case makes it to arbitration, Demers' representation will probably point to Alex Goligoski's 4-year $18.4 million deal signed at a similar age as a comparable while the Sharks will be trying to argue Demers' 2013-14 season was an anomaly. An independent arbitrator would then consider evidence from both camps before coming to a decision on Demers' salary within 48 hours of the hearing at which time the Sharks could either choose to accept it or walk away, making Demers an unrestricted free agent.

One interesting wrinkle worth noting, in case this does go all the way to an arbitration hearing, is that if Demers' representation opts for a one-year award he would become an unrestricted free agent next summer. Demers is the most likely candidate to replace Dan Boyle on a power play unit likely due for a massive bounce-back season. Look no further than Matt Niskanen's seven-year, $40 million deal with the Washington Capitals to see what a 27-year-old right-shot defenseman coming off a big season fueled by production on a power play he wasn't necessarily driving can get in free agency.

Anyway, the vast majority of these cases get settled prior to the arbitration hearing so that's probably a bit of a far-fetched scenario. Despite an uneven series against Los Angeles, to put it lightly, Demers had a great season for the Sharks and is certainly a top-four defenseman on the team going forward. He proved down the stretch in the regular season he's capable of logging top-pairing minutes at even-strength and he was excellent on the penalty kill all year as his role there grew over the course of the campaign. Young puck-moving defensemen who can contribute on both special teams units don't grow on trees and the Sharks would be wise to lock Demers up long term to avoid him cashing in on a UFA deal next offseason.