Things never really got started [in Dallas] for me. I was just really excited for the opportunity when they told me yesterday that it looked like I was going to get picked up by a Western team. - David Schlemko
CALGARY, AB -- When David Schlemko was notified he had been placed on waivers by the Dallas Stars on Saturday, he had a positive mindset about the move.
The 27-year-old never found his footing with the Stars, playing just five games with Dallas. The chance to be claimed off of waivers by another team would give him a change of scenery and a shot at earning a bigger role with an NHL club.
The Calgary Flames have given him that opportunity.
"It wasn't too difficult to leave Dallas," Schlemko told Sportsnet 960 The FAN. "Things never really got started [there] for me. I was just really excited for the opportunity when they told me yesterday that it looked like I was going to get picked up by a Western team.
"Two minutes after the deadline, I got the call and it was pretty exciting."
Prior to being picked up off of waivers by the Stars last month, Schlemko spent 207 games with the Arizona Coyotes under the watchful eye of Brad Treliving, who served as the organization’s assistant general manager and GM of the AHL’s San Antonio Rampage before joining the Flames organization.
Knowing what Treliving brings to the table and given his own experience with squaring off against the Flames, Schlemko is eager to head to Calgary.
"[The Flames] are a really hard-working team and they're a tough team to play against,” he said. “I'm looking forward to being part of that."
Treliving was quick to bring Schlemko in.
“There were times in Phoenix he was playing top-four minutes,” Treliving said. “Now, it's been a difficult year for him, gone from Phoenix to Dallas and now to us.
“We wanted to add some depth to our blue line, felt the cost made sense to us in terms of the waiver wire and it's a player we know. David's a good kid, adds some mobility, can play on your power play.
“The trick for David will be to get going. I know he's excited for this opportunity. He's excited to be in a playoff race. He's excited about coming back to Alberta and he gives us a little more depth.”
Not only does being acquired by Calgary offer Schlemko an opportunity to take on more responsibility, it is somewhat of a homecoming.
He hails from Edmonton and spent his junior career playing for the Medicine Hat Tigers of the Western Hockey League.
In addition to those ties to Alberta, the blueliner played alongside Flames alternate captain Kris Russell during his days in the WHL.
"My wife and I have a lot of family and friends back home that are pretty excited that we'll be so close," he said.
"I've known Russ for quite awhile now. We had always had a good time playing together in The Hat. It'll be nice to see a familiar face walking in instead of just meeting 23 new guys."
Russell is ready to reconnect to his former teammate with whom he captured a WHL title with in 2004.
"He's a good player,” Russell said. “He's better than the number of games he's played and the kind of season he's had. He was a really good junior, very offensive, he's good with the puck and makes smart plays.
"I think he's going to be a guy that can come and fit right in. He's a smart and intelligent hockey player. I think he's a guy that could surprise a lot of players and a lot of fans and a lot of people with how good he is."