The Edmonton Oilers announced that they have signed defenseman Jason Demers to a one-year, two-way contract. After signing Demers, the Oilers have placed him on waivers for the purposes of loaning him to the Bakersfield Condors, their AHL affiliate. The contract is worth $750,000 at the NHL level, which is the league minimum. The move comes one day before the NHL’s temporary roster freeze takes effect.
For Demers, the contract should give him a much clearer path to an NHL job this season after not playing in the league since 2020-21. Unless he’s claimed on waivers, the signing, waiving, and loan to Bakersfield will more or less be a formality for the veteran, who has been playing with the Condors this season, tallying nine points and 32 penalty minutes in 24 games. Demers had actually been in training camp with Edmonton this preseason and impressed in that time, but salary cap constraints prevented the organization from giving him an NHL deal until now.
In the case of the Oilers, signing the 34-year-old should, if he clears, give them more reliable depth on the backend and a player they know they can trust if and when he gets into the lineup. Although their jobs certainly are in no danger, the Oilers have had some glaring issues defensively this week, headlined by Darnell Nurse and Evan Bouchard. For now, nothing will change on the ice for Edmonton or Bakersfield, but the team will be able to recall Demers at a moment’s notice when they feel the timing is right.