Darren Dreger was on Edmonton’s TSN 1260 on Tuesday morning:
On what happened with Jason Demers – who had been given the tour in Edmonton – in free agency, and if his signing for $1 million or less per year than expected was a result of he and his agent painting themselves into a corner in negotiations:
“Maybe. That’s how it looks when you put it all together. Kris Russell, I think, falls into that category now as well. He’s unsigned, although I think that that is going to get dealt with if not today, in the next couple of days here.
“I think that there was a reality check, and that often happens when you get through the first wave, which is Friday. And then maybe even the second wave, which is Friday night into Saturday and maybe drifting into Sunday, and then you know what I mean? You just kind of roll from there in free agency. There’s a significant reality check. That’s because teams have invested their dollars. They don’t have any more money.
“The one thing about Jason Demers – would he have made the Oilers’ blueline better? Yes, because it would have made it deeper. But on a good team, hockey people that I trust say he’s a 4-5 guy at best. That’s what he is. So maybe the Oilers looked throughout their organization and went, ‘Okay, we’ve got Larsson who we think is a No. 3, and we’re hoping he’s going to develop quickly into a top-pairing guy. We’ve got other defensemen in our fold, with the obvious including Nurse and Klefbom, that we’ve got to give more responsibility to. Exactly where are we going to fit this guy in at $4.5-$5.25 million per year.’
“And maybe at that point they just said, ‘Yeah, financially it’s not a fit. As much as we like the depth of the player, we can’t afford to invest that type of term or money in him.’”
Source: TSN 1260/ Transcript: Nichols