Panthers sign Jason Demers to five-year, $22.5M contract

DALLAS, TX - APRIL 22: Jason Demers #4 of the Dallas Stars skates against the Minnesota Wild in Game Five of the Western Conference First Round during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the American Airlines Center on April 22, 2016 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX - APRIL 22: Jason Demers #4 of the Dallas Stars skates against the Minnesota Wild in Game Five of the Western Conference First Round during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the American Airlines Center on April 22, 2016 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Florida Panthers have signed unrestricted free agent defenseman Jason Demers to a five-year contract.

Demers’ deal is for $22.5 million, which calls for a $4.5 million salary cap hit. According to Sportsnet,  the contract carries an eight-team modified no-trade clause the first four seasons. He played last season with the Dallas Stars.

“We are excited to sign Jason and we are thrilled that he chose Florida,” Panthers general manager Tom Rowe said in a statement provided by the team. “He will play an integral role on our blue line and will help our transition game and special teams. This is another important signing for us this offseason.”

Demers, 28, was considered one of the top unrestricted free agent defensemen on the market due to his age, rounded overall game and relatively low per-year asking price compared to other UFAs.

His last contract was for two years $6.8 million. Dallas initially acquired Demers and a 2016 third-round draft pick on Nov. 21, 2014 from the San Jose Sharks in a deal for Brenden Dillon.

The Panthers have both lost and added parts of their blue line this offseason.

The team traded for the rights to Keith Yandle and then signed him to a seven-year $44.5 million contract. Florida also picked up Mark Pysyk in the deal that sent Dmitry Kulikov to the Buffalo Sabres.

Brian Campbell left the team in free agency to the Chicago Blackhawks and veteran Willie Mitchell is an unrestricted free agent, but may not play again due to lingering concussion issues.

During the free agency interview period it was reported that “several teams” had contacted Demers’ camp and that he visited the Edmonton Oilers. Last season the 6-foot-1, 195-pound Demers averaged 20:52 with the Stars, and had 23 points in 62 games played.

Demers held a 54.45 score and venue adjusted 5-on-5 CF% last season. His score and venue adjusted CF% Rel was plus-1.27.

With the Demers contract, the Panthers have $8,466,668 of salary cap space left this offseason. Young scoring forward Vincent Trocheck (25 goals last season) is a restricted free agent and will likely see a large raise from his entry-level deal.

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