These players were acquired to push the team over the edge. Last season, San Jose came within two wins of a Stanley Cup but was clearly outplayed by Pittsburgh in the Finals. The speed and skill of the Pens proved too much, and the series would have been over earlier if it wasn't for some extraordinary goaltending by Martin Jones. Pittsburgh's third line dominated the Sharks, while the bottom pair of Brenden Dillon - Roman Polak was badly exposed. Both Boedker and Schlemko were signed to patch these holes, and help the team go for its first ever Stanley Cup.
Boedker has spent most of his career playing significant minutes on bad teams. In eight years and 463 regular season games in the NHL, Boedker has made the postseason just twice for a total of 20 games. His last run was with the 2011-12 Coyotes who were swept by Los Angeles in the Western Conference Final. He's in a much different situation with the Sharks, a team being labeled as contenders heading into the season.
Boedker's point totals look pretty flashy, but as mentioned above, he's played a lot of minutes on teams that aren't exactly loaded with star power. With San Jose, he'll likely play in the middle-6 alongside Couture or Hertl/Tierney/3rd line center. Similar to last offseason with Ward, we'll have to wait and see where he fits and who he finds chemistry with. There is a chance he could ride shotgun with Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski on the top line as well. Boedker's combination of speed and skill is his best asset.
A cause of concern with the Danish winger is his extremely subpar possession numbers. He's more of a complimentary forward than one who will drive offense. Boedker's play in the defensive zone is lacking and he has developed a reputation for being a bit of a streaky scorer. But as mentioned above, he hasn't exactly played with high quality talent for much of his career. We'll see if he can flourish with better teammates in San Jose.
As for hard stat predictions, a lot depends on whether he ends up on the second powerplay unit or not. He's been very successful on the PP in the past. We expect to see Tomas Hertl and Joonas Donskoi's as fixtures on the second unit. Joel Ward and Chris Tierney are in the mix as well. At least one defensemen should be included; Schlemko, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, or Dylan DeMelo (if he's in the lineup) are viable candidates. My guess is Boedker will be a regular on that unit, although it is awfully crowded and the names above don't even include potential breakthroughs by Timo Meier, Nikolay Goldobin, or another surprise player.
With all that said, Boedker should get between 14-17 minutes per game. It's a step down from what he's used to, but that's what happens when you're on a team loaded with depth that has a coach who likes to roll the lines. I would be thrilled to see him notch anything above 15 goals, 30 assists, and 45 points if he is a regular on the second PP unit and plays 82 games. It may take some time to adjust to a new system and find the right linemates, so a more realistic expectation would be between 35 and 40 points.
Something important to note is that Boedker took less money to play on a team that could make a run for the Cup. According to Darren Dreger, Boedker had an offer with more term and dollars elsewhere, but wanted to win with San Jose. As a fan, you love to see that kind of stuff. The signing solidifies the Sharks as having a top-5 offense in the NHL. Their depth is matched by very few, if any, other teams in the league.
Schlemko played seven seasons with the Coyotes organization before being waived twice and ultimately ending up with the Devils in 2015-16. Last year was the only time he played over 50 games in his career, and it's no coincidence that it was his best season since being signed as an undrafted free agent back in 2007. Like Boedker, he's been a victim of being on some not-so-great teams.
With New Jersey, Schlemko played on the second or third pair, averaging over 18 and a half minutes per game. With the Sharks, it appears he will be penciled in on the third pair with Brenden Dillon. Dillon had a disappointing season but perhaps with a more stable partner like Schlemko, he will rebound. Dylan DeMelo, Mirco Mueller, and Tim Heed will likely challenge for spots during training camp, but unless a current NHL defenseman is moved, the top-6 looks to be set in stone.
Schlemko plays a safe game in which he does not make many mistakes. His underlying numbers were very good, albeit on an offensively challenged Devils team.
He's also a useful special teams player. In New Jersey, he played on the #1 PP unit and posted pretty impressive numbers. He will almost certainly get a look on the Sharks second unit and has a good chance of sticking over Vlasic/DeMelo. Schlemko plays on PK as well. He could take some pressure off Brent Burns, who was on the ice for almost 500 minutes more than the next closest Shark last year.
Expect Schlemko to play 16-19 minutes per game with a role on both the powerplay and penalty kill. 7 goals and 15 assists for 22 points is an optimistic estimate of production. He does not have a long track record of success in the NHL, with last year being the only 'good' season of his career. The four year term may be a bit risky, but the $2.1 million cap hit is low if he lives up to expectations.
It's hard to ask the big guns on the team to repeat what they did last year. Acquiring Boedker and Schlemko, getting a full season out of Couture, and breakthroughs from young, internal talent will hopefully lessen the load for the older core to handle. It will also make the Sharks a better all-around team.