The Montreal Canadiens have acquired 30-year-old defenseman David Schlemko from the Vegas Golden Knights for a 2019 5th round pick. Vegas had recently selected Schlemko from the San Jose Sharks in the Expansion Draft yesterday night. Schlemko is a left-handed defenseman, which is perfect for the Habs as they are currently lacking LHD. In addition, he is also very versatile and can play both sides if he needs to. Schlemko will have a $2.1 million cap hit for the next three seasons.
Just a day after losing Alexei Emelin in the Expansion Draft, Marc Bergevin has already found a replacement. Not only is Schlemko a good replacement for Emelin, but he is also an improvement. Schlemko had 2 goals and 18 points in 62 games last season. He also had a good playoff run, scoring 2 goals and adding an assist in 6 games. Schlemko will also help the Habs add some mobility on the back end as he is a decent skater with great puck moving abilities. He is also known to be able to play in most situations. Whether it is on the powerplay or on the penalty kill, Schlemko should be a reliable option for Head Coach Claude Julien.
For only a 5th rounder, this is a very good trade for Marc Bergevin and the Montreal Canadiens. The Habs weakest position at the moment is on defense. After losing Nathan Beaulieu, Mikhail Sergachev, and Alexei Emelin they only had four NHL defensemen signed, not counting Andrei Markov who is still a UFA. Schlemko won’t be game-changing, but he will address this problem. At $2.1 million, Schlemko is also a good, cheap option that will still be able to contribute.
Even with the Schlemko signing, the Habs are still fairly weak on the back end. It will be interesting to see if Marc Bergevin has any big moves up his sleeves to address this issue, and really turn the Habs into a contender. For now, David Schlemko is a great start.