On Saturday, defenseman David Schlemko was a waiver-wire pickup of the Calgary Flames. Five days later, he made his debut for the organization Thursday night on the road against the Boston Bruins – and made it memorable by scoring a stunning, game-winning shootout goal on star netminder Tuukka Rask.
The Flames are the third NHL team for the 27-year-old Schlemko this season: The Edmonton native began the year in Arizona and appeared in 20 games for the Coyotes (scoring one goal and four points) before the team waived him January 2; and the Dallas Stars picked him up one day later and employed him for just five games before putting him back on the waiver wire Feb. 28. Calgary had just lost blueliner and captain Mark Giordano for the season with a torn biceps, so Schlemko was plucked off waivers March 1, but he didn’t play in the Flames’ March 3 game against Philadelphia. And after Calgary and the Bruins were tied at three goals apiece at the end of overtime in Boston, Schlemko was the eighth Flames shooter in the shootout. He did not disappoint – unless you were Rask and his teammates:
Schlemko has registered just nine goals in 213 career NHL regular-season games over parts of seven seasons with three teams. He played only seven minutes for Calgary before the shootout Thursday, but if the Flames are going to scratch out a playoff spot in the highly competitive Western Conference in the absence of Giordano, they’re going to need players throughout the lineup to step up in crucial moments.