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Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jason Demers to return to lineup

Jason Demers #55 of the Arizona Coyotes skates with the puck during the NHL game against the Ottawa Senators at Gila River Arena on October 30, 2018 in Glendale, Arizona. The Coyotes defeated the Senators 5-1. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The Arizona Coyotes announced Sunday that defenseman Jason Demers was recalled from the AHL Tucson Roadrunners, where he was on a conditioning loan as he recovers from injury.

The move was likely an indication that Demers’ return to the Coyotes lineup is imminent, and’s Dave Vest reported that Demers will be in the lineup against the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday. He hasn’t played since Nov. 15, when he suffered a lower-body injury. At the time, it was feared that Demers could miss the remainder of the season.

Demers played one game for the Roadrunners, appearing on Saturday night in Tucson’s 3-2 overtime loss to the Colorado Eagles. Demers registered an assist in that game.

The right-shot defenseman was regularly on the Coyotes’ top defensive pairing with Oliver Ekman-Larsson, who of late has played with Niklas Hjalmarsson but was matched with other blueliners in Demers’ absence. Demers has 10 seasons of NHL experience with 591 games played, 44 goals and 150 assists.

The 30-year-old’s apparent proximity to returning to the Coyotes’ lineup is welcome news, since the team has been decimated by injuries this season all over the ice. Center Christian Dvorak just played his first game of the season last Tuesday, while the Coyotes will be without center Derek Stepan for four to six weeks after he went down on Thursday.

The Coyotes had 17 games remaining in their regular season as of Sunday, and they’ll look to make a push into a playoff spot in that time.

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