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The Daily Chum: Get to know David Schlemko

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Learning the backstory of the Sharks new defender.

Toronto Maple Leafs v New Jersey Devils Photo by Adam Hunger/Getty Images

The Sharks signed David Schlemko to a four-year deal on the first day of free agency and he immediately moved into the bottom pairing of the Sharks’ defensive depth chart. I’ve already said my piece on the signing, so now let’s get to know San Jose’s newest defender.

Schlemko, born in Edmonton in 1987, played with the Medicine Hat Tigers for three years in the Western Hockey League before the Arizona Coyotes signed him as an undrafted free agent in 2007. Once Schlemko arrived in the Grand Canyon State he split time between the San Antonio Rampage (AHL) and Coyotes.

He never played more than 48 games with the Coyotes in a single season and after seven years with Arizona he was put on waivers during the 2014-15 season. The Dallas Stars claimed Schlemko and then just as quickly put him back on waivers. Calgary picked up Schlemko and he closed out the season with the playoff-bound Flames.

Schlemko scored one point in 11 playoff games with Calgary and then signed a one-year deal with the New Jersey Devils last offseason. That brings us to now, as Schlemko gets the biggest deal of his career with the Sharks. What did San Jose see him in that other teams didn’t?

It starts with Schlemko putting a career year with the Devils. He set career highs in goals per game, points per game and games played. His possession numbers were also pretty darn good while playing for a team that finished 25th in fenwick-for percentage (47.29). Schlemko’s HERO chart bodes well for his future success, too.

The Sharks also know their window won’t get much more open than this over the next few years and that puts them in a position to overpay to fill needs. The Schlemko signing may end up being great value for the Sharks, but I doubt many teams lined up to hand a four-year deal to guy who hasn’t played 70 games in a season yet.

San Jose improved its roster over the offseason with the acquisition of Schlemko and Mikkel Boedker. That means Doug Wilson fulfilled the No. 1 priority for the Sharks. Planning for the future is always a prudent move, but for a team that needs to win now, Schlemko is a welcome addition to the San Jose blue line.

Schlemko wore No. 8 with the Devils, which means a number switch is coming. In the past he has worn 6, 3 and 28 — all of which are available with the Sharks. So, who’s rushing out to pick up a brand new Schlemko jersey? Guys? Anyone?