On Tuesday, Habs defenceman David Schlemko cleared waivers as expected, paving the way for the team to activate him off IR and assign him to Laval.
The veteran has once again struggled to stay healthy this season and has played in just 18 games on the season, recording two assists while averaging a career-high 19:51 per game. Schlemko has also played on both sides of the ice and that versatility has come in handy.
However, with Brett Kulak, Victor Mete, and Mike Reilly holding down the three spots on the left side at the moment with Jordie Benn faring well on the third pairing on his off-side, playing time wasn’t going to be coming Schlemko’s way anytime soon. Instead of keeping him around as the seventh defenceman, they’ve opted to keep Karl Alzner in the designated healthy scratch for the time being.
Schlemko carries a $2.1 million cap hit through next season although his salary is a little lower ($1.85M this year, $1.8M next). Given the extra year on his deal, it’s not a big surprise that he passed through unclaimed. That said, a trade where the Habs take a contract back or retain salary could be an option as well down the road.
Meanwhile, on Monday, the Habs opted to take a pass on bringing Nikita Scherbak into the fold, a move that comes as a bit of a surprise considering that no other team put in a claim. Had Montreal claimed Scherbak, they’d have been able to send him to the minors but instead, he’s off to Ontario of the AHL, the affiliate of the Kings. While Scherbak’s NHL upside is very much now in question, he still could have helped an injury-depleted Rocket squad.