Breaking down the fantasy impact of Jason Demers signing with the Florida Panthers …
Florida adds: A 27-year-old veteran who has met the 20-point plateau from the blue line five times, including each of the past three years. Demers has been an elite possession defenseman over the past two seasons, as his 54.6 CorsiFor percentage at five-on-five ranked 11th best among all defenseman with at least 2000 minutes played.
However, there is no confusing Demers for anything other than a supporting piece to a defense corps. Among second-pairing rearguards, Demers is in the middle tier. This is still an excellent signing for Florida, though, and it provides some insulation for some of their younger defensemen to acclimatize themselves at the highest level.
Fantasy Take: The Panthers have retooled their blue line extensively over the past couple weeks, and in terms of fantasy value, the pecking order goes Keith Yandle and Aaron Ekblad followed by a substantial gap.
Demers is a fringe fantasy option, and his acquisition likely limits the upside of Michael Matheson to the point Matheson isn't relevant in the majority of setups. Additionally, Jakub Kindl and Mark Pysyk are pushed even further down the depth chart and away from being viable fantasy pieces.
Fantasy Players Impacted: It is extremely rare for a team to be able to support three fantasy relevant defensemen. Nashville, St. Louis, Calgary, Los Angeles and Dallas were able to last year, but otherwise, you're looking at waiver-wire fodder or low-end options in deep settings.
With Yandle and Ekblad clearly atop the depth chart, Demers should fall next in line for fantasy production. As noted, Dermers' arrival negatively impacts Matheson, Pysyk and Kindl, and it likely means Kindl will be the odd-man out to start the season with Alex Petrovic serving as the sixth defenseman.
Quickly turning the focus to Dallas, expect Stephen Johns to step up and be given every opportunity to play a top-four role, and/or handed a load of offensive minutes behind John Klingberg.
Finally, it's unlikely Demers is able to maintain the offensive production he returned over the past two seasons with Dallas. It shouldn't have a significant impact on his numbers, and Florida does boast star power, but the Panthers are unlikely to score as many goals as the Stars did last year. It's only a slight hit, but it's still a fantasy hit.
Fantasy Players this helps, in order:
1. Johns (profile, stats here)
Fantasy Players this hurts, in order:
1. Matheson (profile, stats here)
2. Kindl (profile, stats here)
3. Pysyk (profile, stats here)
4. Demers (profile, stats here)
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