AHL Prospect Rankings: #8 – Rob Schremp

Jonathan Willis
February 19 2009 08:59AM

Rob Schremp

Rob Schremp has one very special talent: he creates goals. He sets them up, he scores them (well, aside from this season), and he’s got a satchel full of fancy lacrosse moves that he pulls out for shootouts and minor-league All-Star games. That special talent is offset by an occasionally flagging work ethic, mediocre skating, and an inattention to defensive detail.

Position: Centre Size: 5’11”, 200lbs Birth-date: July 10, 1986 Shoots: Left

Schremp spent 2000-02 playing for the Syracuse Jr. Crunch (now the Syracuse Stars). The Crunch competed in the OPJHL at the time, and Schremp played with future teammate Tim Sestito as well as Dustin Brown and Ryan Callahan. Tim Connolly was also developed in Syracuse, and the program is well regarded, even mentioned by The Hockey News as one of the ten best preparatory programs in North America. In his final season with the Crunch, Rob Schremp recorded 93 points in 49 games; that total led the team by 35 points, and meant that Schremp was in on 50% of the team’s total offense. At the 2002 OHL Draft, Don Cherry’s Mississauga Ice Dogs made Schremp the first overall pick. Schremp would spend four seasons in the OHL, posting some very impressive offensive totals:

2002-03: 65GP – 26G – 48A – 74PTS, -17 2003-04: 63GP – 30G – 45A – 75PTS, +15 2004-05: 62GP – 41G – 49A – 90PTS, +36 2005-06: 57GP – 57G – 88A – 145PTS, +17

My very first post at my old site was about Rob Schremp, and it compared him season-by-season to a group of other players who a) had good offensive numbers in the OHL, b) were highly regarded in their draft year, and c) spent at least one season in the AHL. The group of players I used fell in to three broad categories:

Good NHL Players - Jason Allison, Andrew Cassels, Marc Savard and Cory Stillman NHL Players - Jason Dawe, Jody Hull, Tim Taylor and Todd Warriner Busts - Jason Bonsignore, Brandon Convery, Jarrod Skalde and Chris Taylor

In that first post, I compared these players by points-per-game. This time, I thought I’d compare them by percentage of their team’s offense.

The 2002-03 Ice Dogs were coached by Steve Ludzik, the former Tampa Bay Lightning head coach and current The Score analyst. Ludzik had two main offensive weapons; Rob Schremp and Patrick O’Sullivan. Ludzik is still an unabashed fan of Schremp -- talking about the Oilers prior to this season, he stood by his assertion that Rob Schremp would have won the Calder in 2007-08, if only the Oilers had been willing to play him. Ludzik’s Ice Dogs were not a strong team; they went 23-31-11-3, scoring 212 goals and allowing 231 (-19 goal differential). Schremp’s 74 points were second on the team, and meant that he figured in on 34.9% of his team’s offense. Schremp’s -17 was the worst number on the team. Let’s compare Schremp’s numbers to those posted by the rest of the group. Andrew Cassels and Tim Taylor didn’t play in the OHL at 16, so they don’t appear on this list.

Schremp: 34.9% Stillman: 32.9% Savard: 30.0% Warriner: 20.8% Convery: 16.7% Hull: 14.1% Bonsignore: 13.5% Dawe: 11.2% Skalde: 10.1% Allison: 9.4% C. Taylor: 7.3%

You can see why Ludzik is such a backer of Schremp; of this set of comparables, he posted the most dominant numbers as a 16-year old OHL’er. Only Cory Stillman and Marc Savard are close. This is also a big part of the reason that Rob Schremp was so hyped entering the 2003-04 draft. In his pre-draft season, he was a dominant offensive player. It was enough to win him the OHL Rookie of the Year honours.

2003-04 was a different story altogether. Schremp requested a trade just three games into the season, and was subsequently sent to the high-powered London Knights. The Knights went 53-11-2, scoring 300 goals while allowing 147 (+153!) and posted the best numbers in the league, but lost to the Guelph Storm in the playoffs. Schremp managed 75 points and a +15 rating, which would seem to indicate stagnant offensive development and defensive improvement (Schremp even hinted as much in a Q&A with Hockey’s Future). In point of fact, it was a major regression.

Schremp’s 75 points represented only 25.0% of his team’s offense, a massive dropoff from the previous year. As for defensive improvement, Schremp’s +15 constituted another dropoff because being -17 on a team that was -19 as a whole is far more impressive than going +15 on a team that went +153. On top of the on-ice issues, Schremp’s attitude was repeatedly questioned throughout the year. Schremp requested a trade early on (apparently because of past history with the new ownership), and was then passed over for Team USA’s World Junior squad. His agent tried to make it seem like it wasn’t a big deal, but professional scout Kyle Woodlief (not a fan of Schremp) had a different opinion:

For all his abilities, RLR can't help but wonder if his history and attitude led directly to the U.S. Junior team's scouting staff and head coach Mike Eaves' decision to leave the 17 year-old London Knight off the team. In fact, even when injuries struck two Team USA position players, USA Hockey still couldn't find room on the roster to add the disruptive Schremp… Amazing — the guy USA Hockey felt was one of its rising stars, who was at the center of a major skirmish in the ongoing heated battle with Hockey Canada over transfers and player procurement, now just two months later isn't even wanted on USA Hockey's 22-man WJC roster. There's just no good way to spin this. If Eaves and staff made the right decision for team chemistry, it doesn't bode well for Schremp. And we can tell you that Team USA's Schremp snub was Topic A in every conversation we heard in scouts' rooms at every rink we visited in early December with Schremp's personal character at the heart of every conversation.

Even as the London Knights excelled, coach Dale Hunter tried different tactics with Schremp; shifting him to the wing (where he’d never played before) and benching him. Schremp’s agent complained in the London Free Press about the use of the young forward, but based on his performance Hunter was absolutely right to try and light a fire under him. There were also reports that Schremp’s conditioning was poor, reports that were dismissed as inaccurate by Schremp’s agent.

The various scouting services ranked Schremp highly, and several prominent hockey people said that Schremp was a “top-five pick” based on talent but that his attitude could cause a drop (although it’s definitely worth noting that his on-ice performance in 2003-04 was simply not that good). Kyle Woodlief, a noted critic who was quoted above, ranked Schremp #19 in his draft preview, with the following scouting report:

Huge talent level, probably the best of any North American in this draft. Tremendous hands and magic with the puck. Average skating keeps him from being a truly special offensive player, yet still can be explosive. Unfortunately that usually only happens when he gets lots of ice to work with. Solid leg strength and low centre of gravity make him difficult to separate from the puck. Can make good d-men look stupid 1-on-1. Selfish and petulant with an attitude of entitlement; difficult teammate. Always looks to be focus of attention, but wants to make things happen and many times does. Unafraid of traffic. Lacks defensive intensity and off-ice issues are a concern, but abilities are first rate. If you can get past the baggage, he’s your man. Projection: Top flight playmaker or total bust. Style compares to: Marc Savard/Vaclav Prospal.

As it turned out Woodlief (who was harshly criticized for his public statements about Schremp) rated him higher than NHL scouts as a whole. Schremp fell all the way to the 25th overall pick, where Edmonton selected him despite reports that his meeting with the team went poorly. Kevin Prendergast described Schremp this way:

”Rob’s got all the tools to be a player in the NHL someday but mentally he has to get on board with what’s going on around him. He has to understand the process in every situation whether it’s with the London Knights, U.S. junior hockey or the Edmonton Oilers. He has to work hard, be consistent, be on the ice and ready to play and practice.”

Let’s see how Schremp’s draft season fits into our group of comparables:

Savard: 46.3% Allison: 36.5% C. Taylor: 33.5% Stillman: 33.1% T. Taylor: 31.1% Bonsignore: 31.0% Warriner: 30.5% Cassels: 29.7% Dawe: 25.7% Schremp: 25.0% Skalde: 22.6% Convery: 20.2% Hull: 19.5%

The 2004-05 London Knights were even more dominant than the previous season’s edition. They destroyed the league, going 59-7-2, and scoring 310 goals while only allowing 125 (+185!). This team also set the CHL record for most consecutive games without a loss, posting a 29-0-2 run. They won first the league championship and then the Memorial Cup as well. Schremp’s numbers improved, but not by a lot; his 90 points worked out to 29.0% of his team’s offense, and his +/- was still only average (at +36, Schremp’s total was 33 behind team leader Danny Syvret’s +69 - Morris Dalla Costa, take note).

Schremp wasn’t named when Team USA unveiled its first twelve players for the World Juniors. When Schremp finally did join the team, it was the 13th forward. There’s actually a fun string of articles about Schremp’s experience at the World Juniors; in the first he talks about how hard it is to be the 13th forward, in the second he talks about the joy of being inserted into the lineup and how he wasn’t aware that his disappointment at not playing was so visible, and in the third the reporter discusses how the American coaching staff is unfairly biased in favour of college players.

Let’s run Schremp against our list of comparables again:

Allison: 48.5% Cassels: 44.3% C. Taylor: 42.5% T. Taylor: 36.7% Savard: 35.1% Dawe: 33.9% Convery: 31.1% Warriner: 29.5% Schremp: 29.0% Skalde: 27.5% Bonsignore: 23.6% Stillman: 22.7%

For the second season in a row, Schremp ends up in the bottom third of this group.

Rob Schremp had the finest season of his junior career in 2005-06. London was still a good team, going 49-15-1-3 and winning the OHL regular season title, scoring 304 goals and allowing 211 (+93). Schremp’s 145 points represented 47.7% of his team’s total offense, a very high total, and his +17 was second on the team. Schremp was finally used as a key member of the U.S. World Junior team (which ended up outside the medals again), and various publications lauded Schremp as an impact player (and raved about his character) and a sure-fire NHL’er. THN ranked him as the 15th best NHL prospect, although they did note some deficiencies to his game:

A highly skilled player, Schremp has all the offensive upside the Oilers want -- and is becoming more responsible defensively -- but they told him to spend the year working on strength and conditioning, neither of which did him any favours in Oilers camp.

Schremp finished second in voting for the CHL Player of the Year award to Wojtek Wolski. While Wolski took the high road (“Rob Schremp had a great year and he definitely deserved the award as much as I did”), Schremp was obviously (and perhaps justifiably) angry:

If we win the Memorial Cup, I’m not worried about an individual award like that. You’d think (it would be given to the league’s leading scorer), but whatever. It doesn’t matter to me. We’re playing in the OHL final right now (starting Friday against Peterborough) and that’s where my focus is. All I know is that when Dylan Hunter, David Bolland and I came back, we ended up first overall in the league again.”

The Knights reached the OHL finals before getting knocked off, and Schremp did not take it well. From the London Free Press:

Schremp — a first-round NHL draft pick who got the call to fly to Edmonton Friday night and join the Oilers for the remainder of their Stanley Cup playoff run — blasted a puck at the Peterborough bench and threw a water bottle at the referees after the Knights were swept from the playoffs by the Petes on Thursday night at the Peterborough Memorial Centre. Schremp’s on-ice tantrum — resulting in a gross misconduct penalty — and subsequent railing against OHL officiating ran in stark contrast to his off-ice image as a community-involved player who visited the Thames Valley Children’s Centre a couple of times each month to help cheer up kids with terminal illnesses.

Again, let’s compare the numbers from Schremp’s final OHL season with those on our comparables list. Cory Stillman, Tim Taylor, Todd Warriner did not play in the OHL this season.

Allison: 75.5%* Schremp: 47.7% Cassels: 45.4% Savard: 45.3% C. Taylor: 39.3% Bonsignore: 36.6%** Dawe: 35.8% Skalde: 31.1% Convery: 26.8%

*Spent most of the season in the NHL and AHL; his totals are based on 15GP and are adjusted to his OHL team’s offense over 15 games. **Spent most of the season in the NHL and AHL; his totals are based on 18GP and are adjusted to his OHL team’s offense over 18 games.

Rob Schremp’s professional career began in 2006-07. Here are his statistics to date:

2006-07 (AHL): 69GP – 17G – 36A – 53PTS, EV 2006-07 (NHL): 1GP – 0G – 0A – 0PTS, EV 2007-08 (AHL): 78GP – 23G – 53A – 76PTS, -15 2007-08 (NHL): 2GP – 0G – 0A – 0PTS, -1 2008-09 (AHL): 44GP – 6G – 26A – 32PTS, -10 2008-09 (NHL): 4GP – 0G – 3A – 3PTS, +2

2006-07 started with hype and a long audition in an NHL training camp, and ended with injury in a minor-league game. Randy Sportak described the camp as a “fresh start” for Schremp. He reportedly came into camp in better shape, and earned some praise from Craig MacTavish:

“We've been very happy with Robbie. I don't think there's been too many young guys who have come into the organization with as much notoriety as he. He's handled himself extremely professionally. He certainly has an element that not a lot of other players have in terms of the offence he can bring. We're definitely intrigued by that. Whether he needs some time at the American League level will remain to be seen and we'll assess that as camp goes along.”

Schremp’s debut season in the AHL did not live up to expectations. His 53 points was just a 19.2% contribution to Wilkes-Barre’s offense (it jumps to 22.2% when scratches/injury are accounted for), and he finished even on a team that scored 55 more goals than it allowed. Quotes from the Penguins’ coach, Todd Richards, weren’t especially encouraging.

First, from November 2006:

“I want more out of him. It's as simple as that. I think he knows it. His play has been too erratic. There's no consistency. I want more out of him, and the reason I say that is because I know there is more." "Right now, I think what he's doing is he's bringing his junior game. I don't mean that in a negative way. There's things he's done his whole life that he's been able to do. Now he's playing against guys that are bigger, stronger, faster. Those plays aren't there anymore."

Then, from March 2007:

"He has made some really good progress this year. I don't want to use great. I think great is too strong of a word. He is doing things right now that he wasn't doing at the start of the year.” "His defensive zone play has been better. One thing he does really well is support the puck. We ask our defencemen to be quick and physical and our support guy to come in. He has done a good job with that.”

Schremp tore the MCL in his left knee in April of 2007, and underwent surgery for it early in May. The surgery and its associated rehab were frustrating for Schremp, and likely had ramifications for the 2007-08 training camp.

Let’s run Schremp’s 2006-07 AHL season against our list of comparables:

Stillman: 41.1% Savard: 37.5% Allison: 34.3% Cassels: 33.3% Convery: 28.4% Hull: 28.2% Bonsignore: 25.2% C. Taylor: 23.0% Schremp: 22.2% Dawe: 21.7% T. Taylor: 20.9% Skalde: 19.3% Warriner: 11.9%

We see the future NHL talents grouped near the top, all ranging between 33% and 42% of their team’s offense. Schremp’s numbers are down in the bust/career checker range at this point.

Schremp took big steps forward in 2007-08, although he once again failed to make the Oilers out of training camp. It’s likely that his knee injury had some effect on the outcome, but the simple fact is that all of Sam Gagner, Andrew Cogliano, Robert Nilsson, Kyle Brodziak and Zack Stortini established themselves as NHLers this season, and there are only so many roster spots for young players.

In camp, the article that has become a fall tradition for the Oilers reared its head again; Rob Schremp is improving, he’s getting the message. He found himself in the minors, and his game improved under Kelly Buchberger, who had kind words for his play:

“On the ice he has great, great hockey skill. He has great vision, he can transport the puck, find the openings ... he can do everything well.”

The Falcons were a bit of a mess, scoring only 214 goals while allowing 257, but Schremp improved, posting 76 points and an average-ish -15 rating. The 76 points represented a 36.4% contribution to Springfield’s offense. Again, here is the comparison between Schremp and the remaining players on the list (Stillman, Savard, Allison, Cassels, Hull, Bonsignore and Todd Warriner all jumped to the big leagues):

Schremp: 36.4% Dawe: 27.9% Convery: 25.5% Skalde: 25.0% C. Taylor: 17.1% T. Taylor: 11.6%

Schremp here is the “best of the rest”, but given who “the rest” are, that’s damning by faint praise more than anything. With the exception of a pair of grinders (Taylor and Skalde) the only player left on the list who would have any kind of impact on the big league was Jason Dawe, who managed 42 NHL games that season. The fact that Schremp didn’t make the jump in 2007-08 was a very bad indicator for his NHL career.

We all know the story this season. The usual stories about Rob Schremp “getting the message” were circulated, this time with an emphasis on his work at Chad Moreau’s California workout camp. Schremp was cut late in camp and then sent to the AHL. He had trouble scoring goals in the AHL, but put up decent point totals prior to a recall before Christmas. With some points early on, columnists put out (more) puff pieces, and he seemed slated for more games. After a lackluster performance, he was sent to the minors, where he’s been brutally ineffective (along with much of the team), and has put as much distance between himself and the Oilers’ roster as possible.

I watched every game Schremp played with the Oilers on his last call-up, and I really didn’t think much of him. His first game with the team I was shocked at his level of progression; he was hitting, getting in on the forecheck, and making smart plays seemingly every time he had the puck. After the first game, though, his play noticeably tailed off, and by the fourth game he looked like was floating.

Despite the flashy point and +/- totals, Schremp simply wasn’t that impressive. The advanced stats back that up too; by the Corsi measure he was +21/-32; in other words, for every 100 shots taken while Rob Schremp was on the ice, 60 of them were directed at the Oilers’ net. His play in the AHL hasn’t been terribly good; his -10 is tied for second-worst among forwards with Carl Corazzini, and his 32 points represent 31.7% of Springfield’s offense (again, adjusted for games played). We can also be reasonably sure that Schremp is playing sheltered minutes. For the record, let’s compare that performance with the rest of the players on our comparables list that were playing in the AHL:

Convery: 33.8% Schremp: 31.7% C. Taylor: 26.3% Skalde: 25.0% T. Taylor: 24.7% Hull: 23.7% Bonsignore: 22.2%

Schremp finishes second among this particular group of nobodies, and we can see that his level of offense has been stable for a pair of seasons now. The level it’s been stable at (roughly 33%) is the same level that Andrew Cassels was at when he made the jump, but below the level of the other players in this group. Likely then, his offense is good enough for the NHL, but his defensive weakness isn’t enough to make up for it on a team with other, better options for the sheltered minutes.

Because of his level of offense, I’m content saying that Schremp is still likely to show up on an NHL team somewhere. It’s likely to be a team that needs offense at all costs; a team willing to put up with the many weaknesses in Schremp’s game because of his proven abilities on the powerplay and in sheltered minutes.

The Oilers have almost certainly handled Schremp badly. Once he was passed by so many younger players in need of sheltered offensive minutes, a trade would likely have been in the interests of both Schremp and the Oilers, because he’s rotting on the vine in Springfield.

That said, the folks who feel that Schremp’s an excellent player who isn’t being allowed to succeed because of Craig MacTavish’s distaste for him need to wake up. Schremp’s been benched and scratched by his OHL coach, passed over repeatedly by the coaches on the American U-20 teams, as well as scratched and publicly criticized by his first AHL coach. Craig MacTavish made some classless public statements, but Schremp has always run into trouble with his coaches because of the limits to his game. He isn’t a wunderkind; he’s a useful offensive player in tightly controlled situations, but he needs to land on a team that needs him so much they’re willing to overlook his deficiencies, or on a team that can stick him with capable and responsible linemates who can compensate for those deficiencies. Edmonton is neither.

NHL Contract Status: $781K for 2008-09, pending RFA AHL Performance Compares To: Doug Weight Projection: 2nd-liner/power-play specialist

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#1 Zamboni Driver
February 19 2009, 09:23AM
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Wow, that was INCREDIBLY thorough, Jon.

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#2 David Staples
February 19 2009, 09:32AM
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All I ever wanted to know about Rob Schremp . . . Can the Oilers please trade him now for a utility defenceman?

Good work and sound analysis, Jonathan.

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#3 JRocks247
February 19 2009, 09:32AM
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Just so we can write about it, wouldn't it be funny to see him in Red Wing silks...he'd probably light us up repeatedly. Definitely first class analysis.

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#4 Rick
February 19 2009, 09:36AM
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How closely did you look at the overall teams that all the comparable players played on?

Seems to me that there is real flaw in using a % of scoring stat is that you could very well have a much superior player on a stacked offensive team rate lower than a good but not great player playing on a real offensively thin team.

It would be pretty much impossible but to give it any kind of ressembalance accuracy wouldn't you have to establish an offensive strength of team coefficient of some sort?

If not you really only comparing the player to his own teammates.

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#5 Boundz
February 19 2009, 09:44AM
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Straight to the point and a view shared by many "objective" Oiler fans.. and there seems to be less and less "objective" Oiler fans lately.

Nice and refreshing.

B

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#6 Jonathan Willis
February 19 2009, 09:52AM
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Rick wrote:

How closely did you look at the overall teams that all the comparable players played on? Seems to me that there is real flaw in using a % of scoring stat is that you could very well have a much superior player on a stacked offensive team rate lower than a good but not great player playing on a real offensively thin team. It would be pretty much impossible but to give it any kind of ressembalance accuracy wouldn’t you have to establish an offensive strength of team coefficient of some sort? If not you really only comparing the player to his own teammates.

Rick, if you click on the link to my first Copper & Blue post above, you'll see that points-per-game puts Schremp in the same range as percentage of team offense.

Besides, a superior offensive player on a stacked team sees his points totals inflated in the same manner an inferior player does; for example, I like Jari Kurri as much as anyone I know, but how many of those goals he scored wouldn't have happened if he hadn't played with Gretzky?

In any case, don't Schremp's AHL numbers pretty much prove that his OHL numbers were inflated by the team he played for?

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#7 Wanye Gretz
February 19 2009, 09:55AM
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This is hands down the best summary of Rob Schremp I have ever read. Bravo Jon.

*claps once: so loudly a satellite is knocked out of orbit*

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#8 bingofuel
February 19 2009, 09:56AM
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Very thorough, JW. You paint a vivid picture of the reasons why Schremp still plays in the minors. I shall now cast this link far and wide so the rest of the current and future Nationeers can read about it.

<3

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#9 The Towel Boy
February 19 2009, 10:12AM
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Wanye Gretz wrote:

*claps once: so loudly a satellite is knocked out of orbit*

I saw that on the news. Nice work!

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#10 Rick
February 19 2009, 10:17AM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

for example, I like Jari Kurri as much as anyone I know, but how many of those goals he scored wouldn’t have happened if he hadn’t played with Gretzky? In any case, don’t Schremp’s AHL numbers pretty much prove that his OHL numbers were inflated by the team he played for?

I am not questioning your conclusion on Schremp because I think it's fair, I just can't see the accuracy in the stat you used to reach it.

Using your Kurri example, my point was a little broader. Kurri and Gretzky played on the same line so there is a direct connection there.

What if the Oilers didn't have Messier and Anderson though? Then the percentage of team scoring for Gretzky and Kurri goes up. It doesn't change the players they were but by this measurement they would look even more dominant.

What I am driving at is a situation when you have a team that is stacked enough to run out two or even three scoring lines.

Using Schremp as an example, and admitting that I don't know much about all of his situations in terms of quality of team, I suspect that Ludzik had very few options for offence so Schremp and O'Sullivan were likely run out in every conceivable offensive situation.

In contrast, looking at the Knights team from 04-05 there were 7 guys that were well above a ppg which limits the amount of time a coach can run out out the same player over and over because he has to find ice time for all of his weapons.

See what I am getting at?

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#11 Chaz
February 19 2009, 10:21AM
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Well done JW. I've printed this out and will now show it to all of the pigeons out there who wonder why he isn't playing on the big team.

Also, from now on could the Oilers please defer questions on why Robbie isn't up here to you instead of Mac T? Your response is more eloquent than Mac T listing his faults for everyone, including potential trading partners, to hear. I can understand his frustration with always being asked the question, but come on Mac T, no reason to point out the flaws.

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#12 OvenChicken8
February 19 2009, 10:30AM
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After reading this I'm pretty happy to say the Eberle to Edmonton bandwagon still has a couple more seats.

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#13 Jonathan Willis
February 19 2009, 10:31AM
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@ Rick:

Yeah, I follow, and I agree with your point.

The fact of the matter is that statistical analysis on the NHL is still in it's infancy, and yet the tools we have to review NHL games are far, far beyond the tools we have to look at OHL games.

Percentage of team offense is an imperfect indicator, but it does help filter out some of the noise from strong/weak offensive teams. I felt comfortable doing it because I'd done points per game previously, another imperfect indicator that gives a similar result.

Mostly, I don't claim that it's a stat that shows everything, but I think it does show something; it's an indicator, not the be all and end all.

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#14 Jeremy
February 19 2009, 10:39AM
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Very good read JW. I found myself with a growing sense of unease towards the chances of Robbie ever becoming a bona fide NHLer. By the time I wass done reading, that unease had turned into downright dread. Again, very good read. I did find myself asking the same questions that Rick has pointed out, though.

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#15 Mr DeBakey
February 19 2009, 10:45AM
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"Mac T listing his faults for everyone, including potential trading partners"

I'm pretty sure that potential trading partners have a pretty good idea of what Schremp is all about. Except maybe Waddell.

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#16 Colin
February 19 2009, 10:46AM
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Interesting. I can't help but think he could be so good if he'd put the work in. I guess that makes him similar to Penner.

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#17 n00b1AnPr1nC355
February 19 2009, 10:48AM
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Cliffs?

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#18 Mr P
February 19 2009, 10:51AM
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I'm sorry JW, I don't have an attention span long enough for this article. I guess my 3rd grade teacher was right. So why isn't he centering Hemsky's line tonight?

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#19 Deans
February 19 2009, 10:55AM
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Maybe the reason Oilers fans fell in love w/ Schremp is b/c he had his best season during the lockout. Perhaps we shifted all our hopes for the Oil on his shoulders and we subsequently put on blinders and ignored that Schremp was a total headcase. Great article.

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#20 David S
February 19 2009, 11:00AM
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n00b1AnPr1nC355 wrote:

Cliffs?

Flagging work ethic + mediocre skating + an inattention to defensive detail = FAIL

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#21 Jonathan Willis
February 19 2009, 11:00AM
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@ Mr P:

Read the first paragraph and the last paragraph for the short version.

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#22 Jonathan Willis
February 19 2009, 11:02AM
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@ David S:

Flagging work ethic + mediocre skating + an inattention to defensive detail + good offensive talent = fringe NHL'er.

Close, though ;)

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#23 Jack "FMNF" Bauer
February 19 2009, 12:22PM
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After reading all the articles, and all the quotes, I just dont get it. Is he an improving player with tonnes of skill, or is a liability who is a cancer in the locker room. It seems every article says the same thing.

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#24 Jonathan Willis
February 19 2009, 12:42PM
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Jack "FMNF" Bauer wrote:

After reading all the articles, and all the quotes, I just dont get it. Is he an improving player with tonnes of skill, or is a liability who is a cancer in the locker room. It seems every article says the same thing.

He's an improving player who has a ton of warts along with tremendous skill.

He gets better, but he isn't going to become something else; and that probably isn't good enough to be an impact player at the NHL level.

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#25 Matty31
February 19 2009, 12:52PM
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Great article! Now that's what I'm talkin bout Wilis!!!

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#26 Kal
February 19 2009, 12:53PM
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You can only get so good at stickhandling by neglecting training on defense and skating in my mind.

Was it worth it?

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#27 Big Deal
February 19 2009, 12:56PM
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Nice article, but the bottom line remains the same, he won't be an Oiler long-term and he will not be a major contributor to any NHL team. Move him out already and find someone else that can maybe contribute...

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#28 Ender the Dragon
February 19 2009, 12:58PM
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Not that it needs to be said too many times Jon, lest your hat grow too small, but well written. Your theories are well defended and researched, and your attempt to be objective is noted.

I particularly enjoyed the fact you went deeper with this analysis than the previous prospects. Was that because you anticipated closer scrutiny and critical review of this particular player's article, or do you intend to be this in-depth on all of the higher-end prospects?

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#29 Jack "FMNF" Bauer
February 19 2009, 01:08PM
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@ Jonathan Willis:

I want to wait until hes with another team, in another system, under another coach before I determine weather hes ready or not. Its obvious hes not a fit here.

3 years of being told, "your improving with tremondous skill" only to be brow beaten negatively by the head coach has to take its tole pshycologically. And one thing ill always blame the coaching staff for, is not concentrating on the positives Scremp can bring, and exploiting them. It seems apparant theyre willing to focus on all his negatives, and broadcast that for all to hear.

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#30 Rick
February 19 2009, 01:21PM
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Jack "FMNF" Bauer wrote:

3 years of being told, “your improving with tremondous skill” only to be brow beaten negatively by the head coach has to take its tole pshycologically. And one thing ill always blame the coaching staff for, is not concentrating on the positives Scremp can bring, and exploiting them.

He isn't good enough, hasn't progressed enough and isn't showing enough signs that he will get to where he needs to be to make it in the NHL.

That's not MacT's fault, it's Schremps and there is nothing wrong with having the message pounded home because of it.

MacT's job, as it pertains to prospects like Schremp is to tell it to them straight as far was they needs to do to get here which is what he has done. The fact that Schremp has wilted like a flower in the face of critisism again falls back on his own shoulders.

I wish the Oilers would just get him the hell out of the organization already so we can stop hearing the same exhausting debate over and over again.

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#31 BUCK75 - FMNF
February 19 2009, 01:34PM
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Schremp Skills + Reddox Work Ethic = Hella-good player.

His hands & mouth move faster than his brain. That is totally on him, not the coaching staff, scouting staff, or any else's fault but his own.

These players are coddled from a young age getting sunshine blown up their ass about how good they are. Then when they make it to a professional level they figure out skill isn't the only thing you need to play hockey.

I don't think him playing for another team will make him the player many of you want him to be...

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#32 Kent
February 19 2009, 01:39PM
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Im not an Oiler fan and I dont much care about Rob Schremp, but that was one hell of a post.

Wow.

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#33 Jonathan Willis
February 19 2009, 01:43PM
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Ender the Dragon wrote:

Was that because you anticipated closer scrutiny and critical review of this particular player’s article, or do you intend to be this in-depth on all of the higher-end prospects?

Mostly because of the expected scrutiny. Rob Schremp is far and away the most controversial prospect in the Oilers' system, and as a guy who had an incredible junior career, there's a ton of information available on him, so it was the perfect combination. I needed to write something as comprehensive as possible, and I had more information than is the norm.

Thanks for the comments everyone - it took a long time to put this together, and having the positive feedback should (theoretically) motivate me to do it again (on a different subject) sometime.

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#34 Jonathan Willis
February 19 2009, 01:45PM
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@ Jack "FMNF" Bauer:

With the switch ofDaum for Truitt, Schremp has now played for four different coaches as a professional hockey player. His OHL coach, and the coaches with Team USA all had problems with him, so I think we can safely say that most NHL coaches would as well.

Still, he could very well flourish in a specialized role, or with the proper linemates; but there's no need to cater to him that way in Edmonton when you've already got Cogliano/Gagner/Nilsson.

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#35 Ducey
February 19 2009, 01:53PM
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I was surprised to see him at #8 because I don't see a lot of AHL guys higher than him, (I guess Chorney, Putulny, Brule, Peckham, Wild, uh) but I'm hoping you have some good news coming.

Its strange that given the fan bases disappointment this season that MacT and managment has become the villans, when in reality, it is Robbie's inability to bring anything other than soft minutes to the rink which has cost him. He just hasn't developed an all round game.

One thing that you may want to note in the massive minutes he played in his last year at London, which impacts on the strength of his offense that year.

He seems to be doing much worse since his return to the AHL, any reason that anyone is aware of?

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#36 Sean
February 19 2009, 01:53PM
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Excellent read Jonathan. Thorough and well done!

Funny that the conclusions you made were that but he needs to land on a team that needs him so much they’re willing to overlook his deficiencies, or on a team that can stick him with capable and responsible linemates who can compensate for those deficiencies

And that his projection is Doug Weight.

When Doug Weight came to the Oilers they were absolutely brutal. His first season they ended up drafting Bonsignore IIRC. Id say your right - RS is done as an Oiler but he could be worth rolling the dice on for bad team with no offense.

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#37 Jonathan Willis
February 19 2009, 02:09PM
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@ Sean:

The projection isn't Doug Weight - sorry, I should have been clearer.

Rob Schremp's play in the AHL this season compares well to Doug Weight's play in the NHL this season.

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#38 Jack "FMNF" Bauer
February 19 2009, 02:19PM
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@ Jonathan Willis:

Yeah but I cant imagine hes the same person that he was when he was in the OHL, or when he got rejected by Team USA. Hes an adult now, and given a fresh start I would like to see what he could do with it.

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#39 Mr P
February 19 2009, 03:02PM
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Actually I thought the 3 or 4 games he played this year were decent. He seemed a little scared to make a mistake though. A would have liked to have seen a couple more games, I think the last demotion has hurt his confidence.

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#40 yo
February 19 2009, 03:25PM
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Jonathan - Excellent breakdown and analysis. The sad truth, in my view is, Shremp is still twice as talented as half of the Oilers currently with the club. I realize talent is only one component of a true professional. I would have to conclude the drafting choices are 50% at best and the inventory of players in the minors is of little hope with the exception of 4 or 5 as yet unproven players. What has happened with alot of these Oiler selections and trades is showing the Oilers to be one huge F.U.B.A.R of an organization. It's a tall order to spin this into a happyface, although I'm sure there are those out there who will try.

Standing back and looking at it, the Shremp saga is in my personal opinion, a microcosm of the Oiler saga of the last 9 seasons. I think Steve Tambellini is the first ray of daylight to come into the Oilers from outside and be in a significant enough position to change the mindset of the recent past. Tambellini's arrival is no accident. It fell on the heels of Katz arrival. By that I mean weed out the cronie system as best you can and hire scouts, coaches etc. on merit. Having Kevin Lowe up stream is the only reason in my opinion that MacT. has been able to keep his job.

My question is rhetorical, how long will it take to straighten this mess out and who has the necessary ability to turn it around? I think the changes will come when the ex-Oilers currently on the scene are all but names on banners hanging in the rafters at Rexall.

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#41 Maz
February 19 2009, 03:34PM
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I really think he reminds me of Juri Hudler on the Red Wings. Not the biggest or best skater, but great hands and vision. The difference is Hudler has players around him for him to use his assetts. The Oilers dont have enough space to see what he can do. Its a shame he hasnt gotten more of a chance.

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#42 Rick
February 19 2009, 03:45PM
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@ yo:

In terms of prospects the Oilers aren't nearly as far off in the weeds as I think you're suggesting. You just have to look at where they are playing.

2 of their better prospects are playing NCAA, which has worked well for Gilbert and Cogliano (who bypassed the AHL all together)

2 more higher rated prospects are still in Jr

They have another playing in the Swedish elite league

And finally they have Gagner who graduated in his draft year right to the NHL

Just because the farm team sucks (and that happens to be where the big club draws their depth from) it doesn't mean that the Oilers are a mess prospect wise.

Even despite the Falcons crapping the bed it would appear that most of the guys the Oilers need to develop are doing just that. Dubnyk has had a pretty decent year of development, Brule is probably middle of the road but not losing ground and Peckham seems to have come along nicely. The only real disappointments would be Chorney and Schremp but outside of those two, who would the Oilers realistically be hanging their hopes on?

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#43 airdawg
February 19 2009, 04:02PM
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Why does everyone keep talking about this guy. He's a joke. HE CAN"T PRODUCE AT THE AHL LEVEL. I wouldn't put him in the top 10 prospects the Oilers have. He's a slimmer, SLOWER version of Kyle Wellwood.

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#44 Jonathan Willis
February 19 2009, 04:20PM
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airdawg wrote:

Why does everyone keep talking about this guy. He’s a joke. HE CAN”T PRODUCE AT THE AHL LEVEL. I wouldn’t put him in the top 10 prospects the Oilers have. He’s a slimmer, SLOWER version of Kyle Wellwood.

Because I'm going through the Oilers top-20 AHL prospects?

Given that Schremp's ranked #8 among the AHL players, it's highly unlikely that he'll crack the top-10 list overall.

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#45 antidote
February 20 2009, 10:12AM
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Great job! Most thorough piece on Schremp ever! It properly placed the onus on him for the failure to bring up his game but fairly noted that the Oilers haven't always helped.

Too bad - I hate to see promise unfulfilled. Another organization will likely take him a la Brule and perhaps they can pull the strings a bit better.

I've seen half a dozen Springfield games this year and although his numbers are down, his skills remain at a crazy level - stickhandling to create space, quick decisions, accurate passes etc. - everything he showed in the first Oiler game this year. His job, though, is to put up points and he hasn't done that. Again, too bad for him and the Oilers.

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#46 Chris
February 20 2009, 06:23PM
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Willis. MONSTER POST!

*Complete with spittle in Pierre McGuire fashion*

We keep drafting players who are small, hoping they will grow. Players who are slow, hoping they will "put in the work" to develop speed which, at this level, is derrived from a higher level of fast twitch muscle awarded to a genetically favored few. We draft soft players hoping they will develop an edge. I was never impressed by Schremp... Who cares about showboating stick moves when you lack the tools to create time and space for yourself in game situations. I don't envy Scouts. How can you watch a WHL game and project which player will be effective in the NHL? Oh wait... you draft the biggest, the fastest, and the most physically committed. You don't waste first round picks on players with obvious shortcommings; hoping that these deficiencies will magically disapper with time. If you are small, you had better be fast. I predict Omark will be a simular bust because he simply lacks the tools... At least Omark was drafted as a late round gamble and not as a blue chip prospect.

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#47 The Gambit - OilersNation.com
February 24 2009, 10:32AM
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[...] Trade Rob Schremp. I laid out my thoughts on Schremp the other day; suffice to say that while he is still a prospect, I think a trade would [...]

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#48 dawgbone
March 05 2009, 10:17AM
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I think the most obvious crticism and the one that Schremp has failed to get over is this one by Richards:

Those plays aren’t there anymore

Take a quick glance at youtube and look at all the Schremp goals and highlights.

After being amazed, watch them again... this time really watch them.

Check out how much time and space he has. Check out how much time he has to set up his wrist shot, check where he wants to shoot it and then fire it.

This play does not exist in the NHL.

Rob Schremp with time and space is an incredible offensive talent. The problem is that space just doesn't exist at the pro (especially NHL) level.

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