Before their first game in 2015, the Dallas Stars acquired defenseman, David Schlemko, off of waivers from the Arizona Coyotes. The 27 year-old native of Edmonton, Alberta left the Coyotes with 1 goal and 3 assists in 20 games in the 2014-15 season. Schlemko played only 48 games in his first full NHL season in 2013-14, splitting time between Arizona and the San Antonio Rampage of the AHL before the lockout in 2013.
When Arizona placed Schlemko on waivers on November 14, 2014, he passed, playing only 2 games with the Portland Pirates. With improving stats, his second waive of the season yielded greater success as Dallas and Minnesota both sought a veteran defenseman at the beginning of the new year.
2nd time was a charm for David Schlemko, who was also waived in mid-November with no takers. Coyotes tried for weeks to trade him back then.
— Craig Morgan (@craigsmorgan) January 3, 2015
Schlemko’s Career Fluctuations
Playing professionally since the 2007, David Schlemko began his career with the now defunct Arizona Sundogs of the Central Hockey League. In 2007, the Coyotes also signed Schlemko as an undrafted free agent. Like many CHL players, the San Antonio Rampage called him up to play one game in 2007-08, before he scored 22 assists and 7 goals in 68 games with the team in 2008-09.
Schlemko made his NHL debut with the Coyotes that same season, scoring 1 assist in 3 games. By November 2009, Schlemko finally scored his first NHL goal on Marty Turco of the Dallas Stars off of an assist from Vernon Fiddler. From 2008 and 2012, he split his seasons, playing back and forth between the AHL and NHL. Since his debut, Schlemko’s career has been up and down. Arizona head coach, Dave Tippett, explained that the acquisition is a “good reset button,” for Schlemko as the Coyotes move on to make room in their roster for prospects that fit their defensive puzzle.
Earning Time on Dallas’ Loaded Roster
With Dallas’ top four defensive players set, and skilled AHL players pushing up from the Texas Stars, Schlemko will have to earn his time on the Dallas Stars’ roster. Schlemko is expected to spend time as the 7th defense, filling in for Jamie Oleksiak and Jyrki Jokipakka as they are sent down and recalled for increased playing time and development.
As Oleksiak and Jokipakka are the only two defensemen who can be sent to the AHL without passing through waivers, they are the only two in Jim Nill’s rotation. No new defensemen are expected to be brought up according to Nill, and rookie, John Klingberg, has most likely earned his roster spot in his first 24 games with Dallas. In the meantime, Schlemko provides a veteran presence and increased depth as a back-up on the blue line.