It’s been a busy day for Dallas Stars GM Jim Nill.
Earlier this afternoon, Nill and the Stars announced the re-signing of center Jason Spezza to a four-year deal worth $30 million dollars. The deal, worth $7.5 million annually, wasn’t Nill’s final move of the day, however, as a trade between the Stars and the San Jose Sharks came out of nowhere.
It’s a strange trade for Dallas, frankly, as it doesn’t really address the Stars issues on defense. Over the course of the past two seasons, Demers hasn’t really been tasked with much more than bottom pairing duties while taking the bulk of his faceoffs in the offensive zone. Even then, he hasn’t fared extremely well.
The positive for Demers and his new team is that in San Jose he was largely weighed down by playing minutes with Scott Hannan. Over half of Demers’ 5-on-5 time on ice was with Hannan, during which the duo posted a 48.5 Corsi For percentage. Apart, Demers posted a 51.7 CF%. Not spectacular, but Demers’ skill-set may be enough to help the Stars move the puck up ice more efficiently, something they’ve struggled with mightily this season.
It’s also cap friendly for the Stars. At a $2.2 million cap hit this season and next – the Sharks retained $1.2 million in salary in the deal – the move means Dallas will have nearly $19.5 million in cap space next season. With 16 players under contract next season and several defenseman coming up as restricted free agents, the deal gives Nill the ability to pay his younger defenseman, which is clearly of interest to him.
On the other end of the spectrum, San Jose gets a younger blueliner who was part of what was arguably Dallas’ best pairing. Alongside Jordie Benn, Dillon helped drive possession while facing the second toughest competition. He wasn’t flashy by any means, but he was steady and it makes the trade a bit of a head-scratcher from a Stars perspective. It’s possible Nill knew what Dillon would be looking for as an RFA and wasn’t willing to pay the price and decided to cut ties now.
Both San Jose and Dallas haven’t had the type of season they were hoping for, so more than anything, this trade could be considered a simple shuffling of the deck. Nill did good work to have the Sharks retain salary and hand over a third-rounder, but it’s difficult to imagine he did much to actually improve his defense.
Dillon will get his game back in Dallas when the two teams will play each other on Feb. 19 when the Sharks visit the Stars, and on April 6, Demers will go back to San Jose as the Stars take on the Sharks.