Editor's note: This article is part of an ongoing series in which Sharks insider Kevin Kurz will highlight a different Sharks player every weekday leading up to the start of training camp.
Name/Position: David Schlemko, D
Salary cap hit: $2.1 million, signed through 2019-20
2015-16 year in review: In his one and only season with the Devils, David Schlemko posted six goals and 13 assists for 19 points and 16 penalty minutes in 67 games. Prior to joining New Jersey, Schlemko spent most of his first six years in the NHL with the Arizona Coyotes. He signed a one-year deal with New Jersey last offseason.
Although he set a new career high in goals and points, Schlemko also sported a minus-22 rating, the second-worst mark on the team and one of the worst in the NHL. That number may be misleading (as it often is), though, as the Edmonton native had the fourth-best shot attempt percentage on New Jersey among players that skated at least 40 games.
2016-17 outlook: The Sharks were in need of a sixth defenseman after rental Roman Polak went back to Toronto in the offseason, and rather than stay in house, went out and inked Schlemko to a four-year deal. He’ll slot in with Brenden Dillon on the third pair, and gives a boost to what was a strong Sharks blue line last season.
The six-foot-one, 190-pound Schlemko isn’t overly physical, with 47 hits in 67 games last year, and he may not reach his average of 18:39 of ice time he saw in New Jersey last season. Still, he’s more mobile than Polak, who struggled against speedier teams, and he can play either side. Schlemko said “six or seven” teams were interested in his services before he joined San Jose, a good indication that he’s coming off of a solid season.
Schlemko’s signing also gives the Sharks added protection in next summer’s expansion draft. As we’ve mentioned here numerous times, San Jose is more likely to lose a blueliner than a forward to Las Vegas. If Schlemko ends up being the guy chosen, the Sharks will have Dylan DeMelo and potentially an NHL-ready Mirco Mueller to jump in. In the more immediate future, adding Schlemko also allows Mueller to get more seasoning in the minors.