Game day preview: Oilers vs Panthers

If it wasn’t clear before, it is now: there isn’t enough room for Rob Schremp and Gilbert Brule to make the team. Both are in the running for the fourth line LW slot, but one will get a stall in the locker room while the other will get a ticket to Springfield.

“I don’t think there’s room for both that’s for sure. That will be dependent on them. There are three scenarios that will play out. Both of them being here is the most unlikely. Both of them in Springfield is a possibility, but based on the way they’ve played that seems unlikely. The most likely will be one staying and one going,” said Craig MacTavish.

Judging by the amounts of likely and unlikely in MacTavish’s quote, it is clear he has no front runner right now. Rather, he will let their play decide their fate.

Both have played a pre-season game, and while neither was bad, neither stood out. It would seem that Brule, due to his style, might be a better fit as a 4th line player, but not necessarily according to MacTavish.

“I liked Brule last night. I liked the edge to his game and combined with a high skill level he has good tools. The thing that high-level players need to learn at this level is they need help from their teammates. They’ve got to use their teammates and let them help them both defensively and offensively. In the third period last night he became a bit to individualistic. He played very well in the first and second, but in the third he didn’t use his teammates as much.”

Schremp has lots of offence but struggles with the same problem.

“Robbie likes to hang on to the puck, but he needs to move it quicker to open up some ice for him when he gets it back.”

Many players who dominated offensively in junior struggle with learning how to use their teammates. Both Schremp and Brule were so good in junior that they could beat the opposition without their teammates at times, but that won’t happen now. Schremp will need to improve on this facet quickly if he wishes to stay. He is more of a one-dimensional player than Brule.

It’s obvious the Oilers have seen a change in Schremp’s demeanour and commitment and feel he has earned a long look, but ultimately if he doesn’t put up any points in the pre-season he won’t be here. The advantage Brule has is that he’s quicker and plays with more of an edge, meaning he can be more noticeable without showing up on the score sheet.

If Schremp scores four or five points in the pre-season he will be here regardless of what Brule does. If not, the former London Knight will once again find himself in the minors.

Unlike his first game, Schremp will not be lining up with gifted offensive players tonight. Here’s tonight’s line up:

Lefebvre – Reddox – Schremp
Cole – Horcoff – Hemsky
Moreau – Pisani – Penner
Lerg – Paukovich – McDonald

Souray – Visnovsky
Smid – Wild
Chorney – Peckham

Deslauriers and Garon. Deslaurier will start.

While Schremp doesn’t have the most gifted linemates, expect him to get ample PP time tonight. He will have to show he can run the power-play from the side boards. Watch how Souray and Visnovsky play together—if Charlie Huddy and MacT like the chemistry, those two could play big minutes together in the regular season.

Florida in the minors

Even though the Panthers play the Oilers back-to-back they’re staying in Calgary and busing on game day to Edmonton. I guess they want to set up shop in one place and bus only the guys that are playing to Edmonton. I’m guessing the veterans love the three hour trek down the QE2. And Florida wonders why Jay Bouwmeester only signed a one-year deal…

—Gregor: the man, the legend, the host of Just a Game can be heard weekdays from 3 to 6pm on the Team 1260.

  • BUCK75

    Wow – Joe McGrath realy shelling out for the Panthers to have a great season. Hopefully Walt Comiskey is still driving the bus 😉

    Wayne Huizenga should have folded this team a long time ago for the tax write off…

  • I notice that Slava Trukhno / Ryan Potulny / Colin McDonald get no mention here, but from what I've read all were good against Vancouver last night (particularly Trukhno). Are they all pretty much out of the running at this point?

  • Andrew

    Another reason for the Panthers staying in Cowtown is that there are NO open hotel rooms this week in Edmonton. I've heard this from a few people today and that might be why they're basing out of Calgary.

  • Jason Gregor

    Trukno is not in the running. McDonald is playing again tonight, so he must have impressed, but he still needs some seasoning. His style and size would fit there, and I could see him getting a shot at some point this year. Potulny was good and is in the running, but it is clear only one of the two former first rounders is sticking.

  • misfit

    It looks pretty certain that Chorney and Peckham are going to be defence partners in the AHL, or at least that's what the organization has in mind at this point. They've been put together just aboutn every step of the way so far.

  • Chris.

    I'm curious to see if Deslauriers can match the strong performance by Rolli last night. If the Oil are forced to keep all three tenders on the roster it could spell doom for the ambitions of both Shremp and Brule.

  • George

    i think they both start in springfield and strudwick takes the 4th line LW, as macT alluded to early…..they'll both get call ups at some point, but they could benefit by getting quality minutes on the farm

  • Fiveandagame


    Shremp has had two full seasons in the AHL. Last season on the top line playing on the number one PP unit. He's had all the minutes he needs in the AHL. He needs to be around the pro's learning the pro game. A stint here and there in the AHL for conditioning is fine but his time needs to be up here learning how to fit in to this oiler team not learning to the number one guy in Springfield.

  • stratedge

    Truhkno impressed with his good hands and ability to take a hit, but other times looked sloppy. And he was made to look like he was standing still when 2 Canucks went right past him while he was on the power play. I'm not sure how he ended up at the point, though.

  • doritogrande

    Gotta disagree with the love for Potulny. He was invisible to my eyes during yesterday's game.

    Trukhno should have played his way into contention with his play yesterday. He was much better than Schremp was the day before with similar linemates. He battled, he skated, he hit, he shot. All things Rob Schremp didn't do.

  • Dennis

    Do you really want Brule here splitting time with 78 as the 12/13th guys?

    Isn't it better to send him back to SF and try and jumpstart his offensive development? I guess you could say the same about Schremp but the difference is Rob's already got ~two season of A play under his belt.

  • pDan

    Agree with 5AndAGame – Schremp has paid his dues in the AHL, any more and it would be detrimental to him, IMO. Let him stay. Raise his trade value at any rate.

  • Ducey

    No way Schremp should be on the fourth line. He cannot check effectively and when is the last time he actually hit someone and made them fall over? He would be murdered fairly quickly playing against other teams fourths.

    He is not good enough for the top three lines and should be sent down. He could be the callup in the event that Nilsson or Gagne or Horc got injured.

    I don't think Brule should make the team either. Half a year in the AHL scoring some goals would help him regain his touch and confidence. He has already shown in Columbus that he is not going to develop with limited minutes in the NHL.

    Potulny should start with the big team. He has paid his dues in the AHL too. He doesn't have fancy tricks like Robbie, but fits better on the fourth line.

  • SquidRx

    I think that it will be Schremp. I agree that if he is going to develop further it has to be at the NHL level. I also think that from a public relations point of view, keeping Schremp is the better choice. His name pops up more than any other bloke toiling along in the AHL. It is time to throw him in the pool and see if he sinks or swims. He has to prove he can play at this level at 4th line minutes with some added PP time. Either he proves his worth or it is time to move along as there are other prospects, as mentioned above, that require the attention that he is basking in. Just my opinion.

  • TedL

    I think Robbie Schremp will have a very prosperous career in the AHL. He is still very week on the boards, avoids physical contact and has a week defensive game. sure he can dangle with the puck and might have a chance as a 2nd line winger, but not with the oilers given their current depth of talent.

    best thing to do is trade Schremp while he still has value. a 2nd rounder should suffice. Atlanta, Vancouver, Minnisota, NYI, St. Louis are all fairly thin with their respective 2nd lines.