The Dallas Stars announced that they had claimed Arizona Coyotes defenseman David Schlemko off waivers earlier this morning. Schlemko will immediately join the Stars.
It's been a bumpy season for the Coyotes' defenseman. After starting the season with the team, Schlemko was in and out of the rotation with players like Chris Summers and Connor Murphy.
Schlemko's time in Arizona appeared to be coming to a close once Brandon Gormley emerged as an everyday NHL defenseman. There were simply too many blueliners up at the NHL level to afford slip-ups, and Schlemko found himself briefly demoted to the American Hockey League this season. Though he cleared waivers the first time, the Coyotes were not so lucky the second time.
Although Schlemko's stats with the team (nine goals, 41 assists in 207 career games stretching back to 2008-09) are not exactly Norris caliber numbers, Schlemko has always been a steady option in the No. 7 slot on the depth chart, and has been relatively consistent as far as possession stats go. This season, Schlemko posted an even-strength Corsi For Percentage of 49.2 percent with a personal shooting percentage of 5.3 percent.
But Schlemko's impact on Arizona hockey is larger than his stats indicate. Schlemko was one of the few players to ever make it all the way from the Central Hockey League (CHL) to the NHL. Schlemko's year with the now-defunct Arizona Sundogs of the CHL solidified his place in Arizona hockey history, as did his brief return to CHL play during the most recent lockout.
Overall, Schlemko is a quality depth defenseman who will play solid minutes and do what he's asked to do. He will undoubtedly help a struggling defensive corps in Dallas.