30-Year-Old Defenseman – Montreal Canadiens
David Schlemko Contract Information:
Signed a four-year, $8.4 million contract with the Sharks in July of 2016.
Schlemko (illness) will return to game action versus the Panthers on Saturday, Arpon Basu of The Athletic Montreal reports.
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David Schlemko: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
After spending his first six NHL campaigns with the Coyotes organization, Schlemko has bounced around in the last couple of years, making stops in Dallas, Calgary and New Jersey. Other than a dreadful minus-22 rating with the Devils in 2015-16, he actually had a moderately productive season, pitching in six goals (three of which were game-winners), 19 points, and 104 shots on goal across 67 games. The 29-year-old should find a comfortable home on the third defensive pairing in his first season with the Sharks, and given the stark contrast of offensive firepower in San Jose versus that back in New Jersey, Schlemko should have a real shot at getting over that 20-point hump for the first time in his career. However, he isnít super big for a blueliner at 6-foot, 190 pounds and hadnít played more than 48 games in an NHL season until last year, so the jury may still be out on his durability.
Schlemko only managed to get into 48 games for Arizona last season and when he did play, he was pretty ordinary. He scored only nine points and was not really a big contributor in any other categories, like PIMs, shots or hits. He is coming back to Arizona for 2014-15 and will likely take up his regular post on the third set of defense.
Schlemko is one of the Coyotes' grittier players and it's that toughness that cost him some time last season due to injury. He played in 30 games from the blue line, tallying six points (one goal) and adding 57 blocked shots. Schlemko is unlikely to ever be a household fantasy name from the blue line like his teammate Keith Yandle -- he's more valuable on the ice than in the fantasy arena.
Schlemko was on his way to one of his best seasons (11 points, 88 blocked shots, 52 hits in 46 games) in the league when a broken foot derailed his 2011-12 campaign. Though he eventually returned, he couldn't quite ratchet up his play to the level prior to the injury and will be fighting for a roster spot during training camp, especially with the influx of young talent and offseason acquistions along the blue line.
Schlemko provided blue line depth for the 'Yotes last season, stepping in when Phoenix's defense caught the injury bug. He'll likely be given an opportunity to win a spot on the roster during training camp, especially with the departure of Ed Jovanoski. Even if Schlemko does stick with the big club, he's not much of an offensive-minded blueliner (four goals and 10 assists through 43 games), giving him limited fantasy upside.
Schlemko played 17 games with the Coyotes in 2009-10 and the rest of the time he saw action with the Rampage where he appeared in 55 games. During his time in the AHL, he scored 31 points (5G 26A) and went a minus-4. For 2010-11, he will have to elevate his game, especially with the prospects of Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Maxim Goncharov looming in the distance. If he does make the NHL squad, he should not be much more than a stay-at-home defenseman and any goal he scores will be a bonus.
Schlemko benefited from Phoenix's lack of depth on the blue line last season, getting his call up to the Coyotes and playing his first three games in the NHL. This year should see the 22-year old Schlemko return to the AHL, as Phoenix has added to the blue line over the offseason. He could be one of the first defenders in Las Vegas to get the call should a defender go down for the 'Yotes.