Rabid Habs

David Schlemko is Providing Stability for The Habs

The day after the expansion draft, your Montreal Canadiens traded a 2019 5th round pick to the Vegas Golden Knights for defender David Schlemko. Schlemko was intended to be Nathan Beaulieu’s replacement, after Beaulieu was traded a few days earlier to the Buffalo Sabres for a 2017 3rd round pick (Scott Walford).

Schlemko was tabbed for the 1st pairing with Shea Weber, however, an unfortunate series of events, a broken hand followed by surgery, sidelined him for 2 months. Fortunately, the Canadiens were able to survive the Schlemko loss thanks thanks to the emergence of 2016 4th round draft pick Victor Mete, who performed admirably in Schlemko’s absence.

When times were tough during the Habs 5-game losing skid in mid-November, the Canadiens conceded 19 goals in 5 games. Schlemko could have certainly helped in solving the Habs defensive woes during that stretch. Thankfully, he made his long-awaited return to action and donned the Habs jersey for the first time against the Ottawa Senators last Wednesday. Logging 15:54 of ice time, Schlemko showed us a glimpse of what we could expect from the Edmonton-native in the future.

His puck-handling skills and mobility are aspects of his game that our defensive corps has lacked. Other than Mete and Jeff Petry, the Habs have a dearth of mobile defenders in their lineup. It’s in Schlemko’s nature to produce slick moments with the puck and it also helps that he’s generally solid in his own end.

So far this season, zone exits have given the Habs considerable trouble. Schlemko’s crisp zone exits should go a long way towards stabilizing the Habs play out of their own zone. Once he gets into his groove – as we saw in the third period against the Blues – it’s likely he’ll play with Shea Weber as Schlemko’s slick puck handling abilities will complement Weber’s defensive style of play.

Hopefully he’ll help solidify the Habs top-6 while being a consistent offensive threat.

Follow Robert on Twitter @TheStandardBob, and follow @RabidHabs for more updates!