David Schlemko's tenure with the Dallas Stars has come to a close. The Stars placed him on waivers yesterday after a very brief stay. Schlemko got in five games while a Star and was unable to register a point. The diminutive Schlemko had more downs than ups and defensively he struggled mightily. The Stars now have some decisions to make.
The move leaves the Stars with six defensemen on the NHL roster, but they do have options. The prime option is a recall of Patrik Nemeth from the Texas Stars. Nemeth, who also has played in five games this season with the Stars, has been recovering from severe wrist lacerations. He should be close to returning to the NHL after a five game stint in Austin.
There is one slight issue though. If the Stars were to recall Nemeth a defenseman they want getting ice time would need to be scratched. A section of fans would like for that to be Jordie Benn, but that isn't realistic. Jyrki Jokipakka has been struggling lately so his removal from the lineup wouldn't be shocking, but it seems unlikely that the Stars would sit him consistently as the 7th defenseman. If he were to come out of the lineup it would be reasonable to expect a demotion to the AHL meaning the Stars would still need a 7th defenseman. So at the very least, short of the Stars recalling Jamie Oleksiak to sit on the bench as the 7th defenseman, the Stars are going to need to acquire a 7th defenseman at some point.
One other, albeit unlikely, possibility is the Stars opening up roster space for the addition of a bigger defenseman prior to tomorrow's trade deadline. Many names are out there. One avenue the Stars could pursue is Braydon Coburn.
Flyers hoping to move Braydon Coburn by Monday. Teams are calling.— Tim Panaccio (@tpanotchCSN) March 1, 2015
Coburn plays the tough minutes for the Flyers and is holding his own. The 6'5 blueliner would offer the Stars the chance to add some quality bulk to the back end. His low PDO (982) suggests that the counting numbers will turn around eventually. Adding Coburn with the imminent return of Nemeth would give the defense corps some needed bulk quickly.
Other names that have been thrown around include Dion Phaneuf, Keith Yandle, Jeff Petry, and Zbynek Michalek among many others. The chances of any of these guys coming to Dallas are very small, but at this time of year you never know.
The Stars appear primed to be active with the trade deadline approaching. The defense corps could either look slightly or dramatically different. The good money is on slight changes, and the first of those was the waiving of Schlemko. What direction they take next will be determined shortly.