David Schlemko Traded to Canadiens From Vegas Golden Knights

The Montreal Canadiens have acquired defender David Schlemko from the Vegas Golden Knights after he was taken less than 24 hours earlier in the 2017 NHL Expansion Draft for a fifth-round pick in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, the team announced Thursday. Schlemko becomes the second player that the Golden Knights have traded following the drafting of their team with the first being defenseman Trevor Van Riemsdyk who was sent to the Carolina Hurricanes earlier in the day.

In Schlemko, the Canadiens are getting a good skater with a decent contract to help solidify their blueline. With the team looking to bolster their defensive group following the trading of Mikhail Sergachev to the Tampa Bay Lightning, Nathan Beaulieu to the Buffalo Sabres and Alexei Emelin being selected in the Expansion Draft, Schlemko doesn’t quite live up to the hype that Canadiens fans may have been expecting. The team has been rumored to be interested in players such as Jonas Brodin, Marco Scandella and others. Still, while Schlemko may not carry the same name value as one of those defensemen, he is still more than capable of filling a role for the Canadiens if used properly.

(Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports)

After being acquired by the Canadiens, Schlemko will have played for six teams while being on the official roster of seven after being selected by Vegas but never having played a game with them. With three years remaining on a contract that comes with an annual cap hit of $2.1 million, Schlemko isn’t going to put up point totals that will jump off the page. Scoring two goals and 18 points in 62 games last season, the 6-foot-1, 190-point blueliner is better suited in a bottom-pairing role, though he’s more than capable of playing up in the lineup if absolutely necessary.

It’s unclear where the Canadiens intend on using him in their lineup to start the year, but with the potential to have a top-four that features Andrei Markov, Shea Weber, Jeff Petry and Jordie Benn, the Canadiens won’t need to rely on Schlemko to fill out too big of a need. The defensive group in Montreal certainly isn’t the best, but it’s more serviceable than many give it credit for with Carey Price in the crease and a very long offseason still ahead for more potential deals to take place.

Stockpiling Draft Picks

The Golden Knights aren’t looking to compete this season. As made evident by their drafting of many players on expiring contracts, it’s clear that the NHL’s newest franchise is looking to stockpile assets to become a team that can compete a few years down the line. This deal is essentially aiming to help that cause as the Golden Knights simply acquired a fifth-round draft pick in two years. With the deal that sent Van Riemsdyk to the Hurricanes also coming at the cost of just a draft pick, Vegas is aiming to build an asset-heavy team that can both draft a surplus in the future while also holding the potential to move multiple pieces to acquire a star sometime down the road.