Injuries were not kind to the Canadiens last season and it certainly appears that’s going to continue in 2018-19. The team announced (Twitter link) that defenseman David Schlemko suffered a knee injury in Wednesday’s preseason game against Toronto and will miss up to six weeks.
This marks the second straight year that the 31-year-old won’t make it through training camp unscathed. Last year, a hand injury sustained early in camp cost him the opening 25 games of the season which set him back considerably. He wound up playing in 37 games overall, picking up a goal and four assists while averaging 18:04 of ice time per night.
The injury to Schlemko really simplifies Montreal’s remaining defensive battle at training camp. This should help pave the way for offseason acquisition Xavier Ouellet to make the opening roster while tryout Simon Despres is still in the mix as well but has to be viewed as a longshot at this point.
Schlemko is the fourth Montreal regular that will be starting the season on injured reserve joining fellow blueliner Shea Weber (knee) plus wingers Andrew Shaw (knee) and Nicolas Deslauriers (facial fracture). Combined, the group makes just shy of $15MM which means the Canadiens will likely be heading into the season icing a lineup that makes less than the Lower Limit of the salary cap.