Sobering thoughts on Schremp

Jason Gregor
December 16 2008 02:00PM

Before all the Schrempnatics start cursing, let me say this: he isn’t good enough to be a regular threat in the NHL. Robert Nilsson is just as gifted offensively and skill-wise, but he is a much better skater. Schremp still doesn’t back off D-men at any point on the ice.

Three assists in four games was good, but not good enough. Right now if he plays on the team, he plays in place of Nilsson. He won’t take Penner’s spot on the first line LW, nor can he check like Moreau as the third line LW, and playing him on the fourth line makes no sense.

Schremp has improved immensely since we saw him late last year. I know that he really wants to be an everyday NHLer, and that’s why I don’t think his reassignment today will destroy him. Is he pissed, disappointed and ready to get a MacT voodoo doll? Of course he is, but if he looks in the mirror he also knows that he still has to improve his foot speed and lose some bad habits.

Too often the minute he reaches the attacking blue line, he stops moving his feet, looks for a pass, or peels off toward the boards. He has to bring more diversity to his game.

I’ve only seen Schremp live less than 15 times in his career, so I decided to ask five scouts who have seen him multiple times. I asked them all the same question, and all of them work for opposing teams. Since it can be considered tampering to comment on other teams’ players I will keep them anonymous.

Do you think Rob Schremp is ready to be an everyday offensive threat in the NHL?

Scout #1 -- has watched Schremp 100+ games in junior and pro

No. His game lacks too many facets. He isn’t fast enough, strong enough or committed enough. I have seen a big improvement this year, but too often his game is predictable. He has great vision and doesn’t lack confidence with the puck, but he never forces the defence to back off. He is great on the PP, but once again he looks to pass way too often.

Scout #2 -- has seen him only as an AHLer 50+ times

Not today, but if he continues to work hard and improve his skating, he has a chance. He will need to find a team that can protect him five-on-five. I question his willingness to compete for the puck and rarely does he finish a check. He isn’t skilled enough to get away with that. His passing is his best asset. He could easily pass at the NHL level, but there has to be an improvement in other areas of his game.

Scout #3 -- has seen him in junior and pro an estimated 60 times

He was so good in junior that he didn’t need the speed or grit; because once he got the puck he would make a play every time. People don’t realize how good those top two lines were in London. It wasn’t just Robbie who made them go. He had great teammates and I think it hurt many of them, because they were so good as a group that some of them got overrated as individuals. I like that he doesn’t lack confidence, but he will need to really work on his footwork, strength and outside shot if he wants to become an NHL player. He’s in tough because if he doesn’t score he doesn’t have the other elements to his game that allows him to contribute.

Scout #4 -- has only seen him in the AHL 30ish times

I think he’s really close. I’ve seen a marked improvement from last season, especially with his defensive play and his consistency. Last year he would be invisible for an entire game, but this year in every game I’ve seen (6), he made an impact or great play every period. His biggest challenge is that Edmonton has lots of forwards just like him who are small and skilled but not aggressive. He thinks the game very well and isn’t afraid to have the puck, but he needs to get quicker so he can make more plays when he has the puck. If he gets a half step faster I think he can become a 20 goal, 60 point player.

Scout #5 -- has seen him play over 100 games between junior and pro

He used to dominate games in junior, but like many offensive guys, he hasn’t been able to continue that. He is an incredible passer, and believes he can make any pass. The problem is his game has become one-dimensional. He never drives to the net, rarely goes to the tough areas and almost never wins a one-on-one battle. His lack of top-end speed makes it hard to become a true offensive threat in the NHL, because he lacks the other physical tools that can make up for the lack of speed. He is still young and I’ve seen a big improvement in his first step, but unless he gets quicker I don’t see him becoming anything more than a fringe player. Look at the small forwards who excel in the NHL. They can all skate and that makes up for their lack of size, until that improves I would be surprised to see him make a lasting impression.


Unfortunately not a glowing report, but scouts have been wrong before and Schremp is still only 22. It’s clear that he needs to improve his foot speed and his overall strength before he becomes a regular in the NHL.

The other reason I don’t see Schremp becoming a scorer in Edmonton is his competition. He has already been passed by Robert Nilsson, Andrew Cogliano and Sam Gagner on the depth chart, and with Jordan Eberle in the organization his window of opportunity gets smaller by the day. Schremp has made strides since being drafted 25th overall in 2004, but I don’t see #88 becoming a regular scorer for the Edmonton Oilers. I hope I’m wrong.

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One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#1 Mike
December 16 2008, 09:33AM
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Jason,

Great article. It is nice to read comments from people outside the Oilers organization. I will admit I'm a big Schremp fan and want him to be here, but after reading this I might have overrated him.

I did see a marked improvement in his skating, but just like scout #2 said, he rarely finished a check.

Jason, do you think the Oilers hurt his development by not having him play up here sooner, so he could realize himself that he wasn't quick enough?

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#2 max fisher
December 16 2008, 09:40AM
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i hope robbie reads this and takes the neccesary steps to become a consistent nhl'er. But like u said at the end of the article, where does he fit with the oil?

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#3 Jonathan Willis
December 16 2008, 09:44AM
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He will need to find a team that can protect him five-on-five.

That's a key sentence. With an Oilers team that already has a bunch of players who need sheltered ice-time (Gagner, Cogliano, Nilsson, most of the 4th line options), there really isn't any room to send out more players who can't handle tough competition.

I question his willingness to compete for the puck and rarely does he finish a check.

This is the part of Schremp's game that impressed me most in his first couple of outings - he was throwing hits, and some second effort was there. Of course, it needs to be there consistently if he's going to force his way on to the roster.

Lastly, thanks for doing this Jason - it's great information.

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#4 Jason Gregor
December 16 2008, 09:50AM
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Mike,

Rarely do teams let a player play so he can find out he isn't good enough to be here. That's what the preseason is for, and Schremp did admit after his second camp that he needed to get quicker. His knee injury in March of 2007, basically set him back a season, because he couldn't rehab until August 1st. That didn't allow him any time to improve his skating like he did this past summer. You wonder if he had been in shape at the start of camp last season if he would have gotten a longer look? We will never know, but the emergence of the other young kids has hurt him more than anything in my opinion. There is only so much room on the team for "projects". And by project, I mean guys you are learning as they go, with the hope it will make them better NHLers.

Right now I think Gagner is a project, so is Nilsson and Cogliano to an extent. I don't think there is room for Schremp while they are here.

So to answer your question, I don't think by not playing him in a few regular season games stunted his progress. He knew he had to get quicker, and he never really worked hard on it until this past summer. And look at his progress. I think if he puts that much effort in again this offseason, he could be and NHLer, but I doubt it will be in Edmonton.

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#5 freeze
December 16 2008, 10:18AM
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You have the right call here Gregor and no one should be surprised that he went back down. He was an injury call up pure and simple. It's not like he won't get another chance this year.

Call me a pessimist but I imagine that he will leave the organization this year and sign with a team that will give him a chance. He his game will ramp up due to ice time and a coach that gives him a chance. He will be a 50-60 point player but every time he plays the Oil he will get a goal and set up two or three more.

I'm totally making this up but it seems to be the luck we have.

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#6 The Towel Boy
December 16 2008, 10:21AM
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Yeah...I watched him skate in the games he played and I couldn't help notice the quick little duck waddle strides he takes when he's trying to hurry. It looks pretty ridiculous. He needs to work on his skating.

Great stuff btw Gregor.

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#7 oilerdago
December 16 2008, 10:57AM
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If I'm not mistaken, Schremp is an RFA at the end of the year so it's not so cut and dried that he'll leave the organization unless - they re-sign him, cut at the end of camp and someone grabs him that way or - a trade finally happens.

That said, I think the scouts have probably pegged his value correctly so we can't necessarily expect a great talent back unless it's a quantity for quality kind of deal.

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#8 Ender the Dragon
December 16 2008, 11:13AM
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Fill me in, guys: I missed the moment in California when he wiped out Roloson. Whose fault was that collision, and could Robbie have prevented it?

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#9 Jason Gregor
December 16 2008, 11:18AM
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Line up tonight....

Garon will start in goal, and Reddox is in for Strudwick on the 4th line.

MacTavish wants to go with Roloson v. Vancouver again tomorrow after the shutout on Saturday, and look for Strudwick to be back in tomorrow as well.

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#10 The Towel Boy
December 16 2008, 11:20AM
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@ Ender the Dragon:

Say wuah?

@ Jason Gregor:

Good stuff.

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#11 Ender the Dragon
December 16 2008, 11:37AM
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@ The Towel Boy:

re: Sharks game;

Jen Sharpe @ edmontonoilers.com wrote: San Jose hit 39 shots in the first half of the third, but Roloson excelled between the pipes, shaking off a collision with Rob Schremp, a slapshot to the mask, and then a lost stick to maintain the tie game.

GREG BEACHAM @ The Associated Press wrote: Penner scored on a power play late in the second period, and Edmonton went into the third tied 2-2 despite a 31-10 shot deficit. Roloson kept the Oilers in it with a no-look pad save after teammate Rob Schremp barreled into him, knocking away his stick.

I just wanted to know if Robbie screwed up, or if he was pushed, or if Roli was out of position, or what the story was.

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#12 Jeetz
December 16 2008, 12:28PM
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I think everyone is over analyzing this.

Shremp got called up due to injury, the player got better Shremp got sent back down. End of story.

Same with Brule

If anything Shremp made a lasting impression on the fans and Oiler brass. I look forward to seeing him again.

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#13 shakey
December 16 2008, 12:55PM
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Ender; the play you're asking about wasn't a fault thing. Roli was scrambling to get back in net and was kind of going backwards and the guy Schremp was covering was skating towards the net and made a quick move to avoid Roli and Schremp bumped into him. It was a play where Schremp was doing his job and back-checked all the way to the net and couldn't avoid Roli.

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#14 The Towel Boy
December 16 2008, 01:16PM
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@ Ender the Dragon:

Ohhhhh...ok. Yeah. What shakey said.

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#15 Ender the Dragon
December 16 2008, 01:37PM
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@ The Towel Boy: Thanks for clearing that up, Towel. You're a pillar of strength; I don't care what Wayne said about you. :)

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#16 Gord
December 16 2008, 01:53PM
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I am a big Schremp fan, but I also know that he has a lot of work to do before he can expect to be a regular 2nd line guy. I think what everyone gets so excited for is to see a guy with vision like Schremp does to have the opportunity to skate with a player with similar vision like Hemsky on the power play. Sure, there would be a lot of opportunities missed with extra passes, but there would also be a ton of highlight reel goals.

Does anyone think Schremp will be recalled prior to the Oilers skills competition to showcase his abilities? I don't mean showcase to coaches/management as they are already aware of his talent (not that it translates to a game situation), but showcase it to the fans at Rexall? Afterall, that event is for the kids and it would be great for the excitement factor.

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#17 RobinB
December 16 2008, 02:21PM
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@ Jason Gregor: Jason, you mean Schremp wasn't sent down because the Oilers are just screwing him over? It's not a demotion orchestrated by MacT to break the kid's spirit and ruin his career? No conspiracy? What do these scouts REALLY know?

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#18 The Towel Boy
December 16 2008, 02:37PM
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@ Ender the Dragon:

Wanye's just tee'd off cuz I didn't respond to his advances. Apparently when a guy buys you a beer and a nice steak dinner certain things are expected of you. Who knew?

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#19 Bryan
December 16 2008, 02:37PM
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Well at least one of those scouts know what the heck they're talking about. I've seen him in nearly 100AHL games, a handful of OHL games, and all but 1 of his NHL games. I am not a pro scout, but those that know me know that I can spot talent. I called Vande Velde having a breakout year, and Peckham being more than a bruiser before most had any thoughts of the sort.

At the AHL level Schremp doesn't look to be too gritty. He often times doesn't openly look to hit guys. He was however doing just that prior to his call-up and in his first 3 games in the NHL.

So the guy wasn't playing a style that could see him get injured while he's in a league that he feels that he shouldn't be in? Big deal. Nilsson and Gagner haven't been doing that despite making a boatload of cash at the NHL level.

Schremp could still use more speed and it has been improving, he could also use a more shot oriented mentality, but some of those scouts are clueless.

As for not playing him on the 4th line, if you're fine with a 4th line always having to be filled full of goons, sure. However a Schremp-Pouliot-Cole 3rd/4th line would've been pretty sweet in my mind.

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#20 Hockey Gods
December 16 2008, 02:49PM
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Hey Jason, great read it's awesome to see it from some other qualified prospectives; especialy since , like you, most Shremp lovers have never seen him play a lot of hockey.

The intersting thing that popped into my mind while reading this was why do lululemon pants make butts look so good... Oh and the other point was people believe if the Oil don't give him a fulltime NHL job we should trade. But like oilerdago maentioned what can we can we really expect in return for Shremp?

I wonder if he will go the Alexander Daigle route...

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#21 Tim S
December 16 2008, 02:53PM
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My first impression in watching Shremp was wow does he want it. He was charlie hustle those 1st 2 games, by the 3rd and 4th games I did not see that same hustle, those same short shifts but what I did see was this is a guy that can play in the NHL.

But I think his situation is similar to that of Brule's. Brule could play in the NHL right now with his speed and physical play, but he was drafted as a scorer so why not try and develope that. I think Shremp could play right now with his puck savy and passing, but he needs to work on foot speed and overall skating. You do not need to be a scout to see that. And if you need to work on skating, or scoring the place to develope that is not the NHL but in the minors.

If the Oilers were not (1)outside of the playoff picture, (2)full of pint size players and (3) have a short roster due to the poplular 3 goalie system then maybe there is a chance to not need the size on the 4th line but until 2 of those 3 come true Schremp will be in tough to crack the lineup.

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#22 Hockey Gods
December 16 2008, 03:00PM
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Bryan wrote:

So the guy wasn’t playing a style that could see him get injured while he’s in a league that he feels that he shouldn’t be in?

You are totally contredicting yourself there Bryan. By not playing a style that will get him in the NHL for fear of injury likely won't get him IN THE NHL!! Think about that statement for a second.

Secondly you think he would be OK in show as 4th line guy, but you also mention he is playing in a league he doesn't think he should be, so do you think playing 4-12 minutes a night will help that attitude.

Congrats on not being an NHL scout but having a good eye for talent. I mean anyone who see's him do the ninja pancake the puck shootout moves, or make motha effing sick passes can spot his talent, but that doen't make him a complete enough player... yet... to be a full time NHLer. But I am sure you were just a knee injury away from being in the show yourself and you are twice the coach MacT will ever be.

And I am on baggedmilks fire mact wood panelled, booze raged bandwagon.

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#23 Jonathan Willis
December 16 2008, 03:04PM
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Bryan wrote:

I called Vande Velde having a breakout year

Pretty sure Vande Velde was on fire after being put in a scoring role to end the season before - 80% or somesuch of his points in the final two weeks of the season.

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#24 Death Metal Burn Out
December 16 2008, 03:51PM
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Jason, post up Nilsson and Gagner's "scouting reports" too to make it fair when it comes to seeing flaws, inconsistency and showing barely ANY flashes of their skill set this year at all.

who cares if Nilsson can skate better? it hasnt paid off for him worth crap this year. who cares if Gagner's got the "pedigree"?

what makes most sense is that the Oilers DO NOT have the veteran players to ween these inconsistent turds along, whether theyre Schremp, Nilsson or Gagner. most of their vets outside of Hemsky arent even close to 1st line players on any other team in this league. how do you expect a team to grow properly when its secondary scoring is highly dependent on kids with "confidence issues" (aka they are wuss bags who dont have the guts to make their own luck) or Erik Cole and others just wasting money instead of being leads ON THE ICE.

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#25 Jason Gregor
December 16 2008, 05:45PM
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Bryan,

I'm sure you might have a decent eye for talent, but you lose all of your credibility when you shoot down scouts and say they are clueless because they see him differently than you. I used five scouts as a decent pool or opinions and all are from different organizations.

To say they are clueless and you are the only one who knows is pointless. Because only time will tell if either side is correct, but right now it seems the majority feel he has to improve before being an NHL regular.

Death Metal,

You bring up a good point, but it is hard to spend that much time with different scouts. It is a good idea for down the road, but with Schremp being sent down he was the main story and an angle that most wanted to hear. That is why I went to these guys...

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#26 Ender the Dragon
December 16 2008, 06:12PM
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The Towel Boy wrote:

@ Ender the Dragon: Wanye’s just tee’d off cuz I didn’t respond to his advances. Apparently when a guy buys you a beer and a nice steak dinner certain things are expected of you. Who knew?

Don't pretend like you've never been the one buying the beer. You knew, didn't you? ;)

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#27 Bryan
December 16 2008, 07:05PM
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Jason, scouts aren't the end-all, be-all. Look at Ryan O'Marra as an example. I like that you got a diverse opinion from different scouts. But who's to know if they are good scouts or just "scouts"?

I am also not the end-all, be-all, but I've watched more of him in the AHL than any of them have. I see some of their concerns, however did they comment on his game at the NHL level? How he was grittier? Hitting? Backchecking like a mother?

It is obvious in Springfield that he isn't looking to mix it up on most nights, but that would be like Hemsky getting crap for not hitting every night.

He is improving in every area of his game and will be a full time NHLer to start next year. The $1 million question is where? Or perhaps he tells the Oilers that they can wait for him now and go off to Europe?

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#28 Antony Ta
December 16 2008, 10:35PM
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Yeah, and Sam Gagner is good enough to be a regular threat in the NHL. Anybody watch the Blackhawks game and notice anything Sam Gagner did right? If you remove the Hemsky's, Cogliano's, Nilsson's, and Visnovsky's, this team is mighty sad and wouldn't even get out of their own zone.

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#29 RobinB
December 16 2008, 10:46PM
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@ Bryan: Scouts are objective observers. They aren't always right, obviously, but they grade, rate and project players based on what they see without this "Cheer for Schrempy" rah-rah that seems to permeate your assessments of him.

You are as far from an objective observer -- and a reliable measure of Schremp's abilities -- as anybody can possibly be. Frame it however you want, that's how it shakes down to me.

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#30 Milli
December 17 2008, 10:52AM
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After watching a pathetic Oilers team for the better part of this season, with only one real scorer, and watching this kid play his goddam heart out. I now question macT. What has Gagner shown this season? He's shown he floats, he's shown he gives away the puck, and he's shown he cannot create. This kid was dynamic end of last season, but this year he, like the team, is a disaster. Cogs, nils....they look good most nights (cog.s, most every shift is at it)

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#31 surshot
December 17 2008, 12:56PM
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"3 points in 4 games is good but not good enough"HUH. Scouts have something bad to say about any NHL player it's what they do BTW.

Bottom line he should not be lambasted and have five or six scouts say crap about him on your blog just so you can spew your "Schremp is not a NHLER" crap that you have been saying for three years. Just to prove there is truth to what you are saying.

Everybody knows why he got sent down. But are you and Brownlee going to sit there and tell me there are no NHL teams that he could be playing on right now even last year. Come on who are you kidding.

His skating is easy to pick apart. Its unconventional but he is improved and makes him shifty on the cycle which is how he gets his points. He is a playmaker thats why you do not see him shoot the puck. He can stick handle in a phone booth with sick hand eye. Thats why the puck seems to follow him on the ice. Go ahead and ignore all that because he has a wide stance when he is skating. Oh i forgot he is very good on the PP.

i'm not even a "scrempnatics" or whatever word you want to call fans who see his upside. Why try to dis atleast half or more Oiler fans who have this view is beyond me.

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#32 surshot
December 17 2008, 01:04PM
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@ Ender the Dragon: It was not nobody's fault. It happens.

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#33 David Staples
December 17 2008, 03:25PM
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Nice work on this, Mr. Gregor.

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