Rob Schremp In His Draft Year

Veteran readers here at the Nation will recall that back in February I did a mammoth nine-page/4000-word profile on Oilers’ prospect Rob Schremp. I didn’t think I’d have any more to add to it. I was wrong.

Tyler Dellow at mc79hockey.com had an inspired idea over the last few days: he went back to Schremp’s draft year, grabbed the draft-eligible forwards, and broke down their scoring into even-strength and power-play point production. He discovered something remarkable.

For starters, Rob Schremp’ production came almost exclusively on the powerplay. We might have guessed that from Kyle Woodlief’s 2004 scouting report (where he talked about Schremp needing “lots of ice to work with”), but I doubt we would have recognized the true extent of the inbalance. In total, 47 points – 63% of Schremp’s total production – came with the man advantage. At even-strength, he was actually a below average point-producer, as a quick comparison to fellow ’04 draftees Liam Reddox and Dave Bolland shows us:

Even-Strength Scoring, 2003-04

  • Schremp: 63GP – 14G – 14A – 28PTS
  • Reddox: 68GP – 18G – 16A – 34PTS
  • Bolland: 65GP – 17G – 16A – 33PTS

It’s also probably worth noting that 63% of Reddox’s even-strength assists were primary, as opposed to just 43% of Schremp’s.

Gabriel Desjardins of Behind the Net took Tyler’s discovery of the 2003-04 OHL game sheets one step further. He used my quality of competition method and ranked the draft-eligible 2003-04 forwards by how difficult the minutes they played were. The entire list is here; I’ll just compare Schremp to his teammate Dave Bolland and again to Liam Reddox:

Quality of Competition, 2003-04

  • Bolland: 83
  • Reddox: 82
  • Schremp: 41

Basically, this means that Dale Hunter did his level best to get Rob Schremp out on the ice against sub-par opponents, while players like Reddox and Bolland posted their totals against superior opponents.

This matters quite a bit since the vast majority of the game – and a player’s minutes – take place at even-strength. In his draft year, Schremp’s even-strength results were not especially noteworthy, as he put up fewer points in a far easier situation than did Reddox or Bolland.

In light of this, it’s perhaps unsurprising that both Dave Bolland and Liam Reddox have had better careers to date than Rob Schremp.

  • Hippy

    We can rip into the Oilers’ recent draft record a lot, but they’ve generally been pretty good at evaluating their drafted prospects and ensuring that the good ones have made their team. Over the years, I can only think of a half-dozen or so Oiler draftees whom they let go only to see them turn into decent NHLers – guys like Martin Rucinsky, David Vyborny, Kirk Maltby, Jason Chimera, Miro Satan and maybe Tyler Wright. Of course, one might argue that the reason why they haven’t had prospects come back to burn them is that that they don’t draft well, but that’s another argument for another day. The problem is the Oilers have certainly never had the luxury of wasting prospects and they don’t now with Schremp. I think he deserves a long, long look at camp and I hope that Quinn and Renney will be the only ones who get to do the looking. It will be good for him to have fresh sets of eyes and fresh attitudes evaluating him. Seven games for a prospect of his scoring calibre drafted five years ago is borderline embarassing, especially for a team that’s missed the playoffs for three straight years. I’m not saying he’s the franchise’s saviour but I am suggesting that it’s hard to get much of an opinion of him if you’ve only played him for a few minutes in a handful of games spread over three years.

  • Hippy

    Scott wrote:

    but I am suggesting that it’s hard to get much of an opinion of him if you’ve only played him for a few minutes in a handful of games spread over three years.

    Thankfully the team is able to form an opinion on him based on 100+ games at a lower level.

  • Hippy

    @ joe:
    @ Travis Dakin:

    The draft is important: it's the best way to find your own high end talent. I believe in carefully developing young players in the minor leagues. AHLers will get NHL playing time filling in for injured regulars, and will eventually force management to make a decision about opening up a regular spot either based on merit, or waiver eligibility, or both. There is no need to rush players in thier early twenties.

    It's my opinion that Oilers fans overvalue potential. Through the 90's. Lowe and the EIG couldn't afford to keep a full lineup of legit NHL players; so the spin-masters were in full force convincing the average fan that youth and upward potential is all-important… Somehow, not being good enough is okay: as long as you MAY EVENTUALLY be good enough; and thus the never ending cycle of development. Times have changed. Let's collectively adjust our expectations.

    It is generally recognized in the hockey world (with some exceptions) that most hockey players steadily improve until they are around 28 years old, and then slowly decline. The Oilers have historically given roster spots to young players who are no doubt on the rise, but are clearly not yet ready to be NHL regulars. It's frusterating watching players in their early twenties burn through their two way contract, become waiver eligible, achieve RFA status; and be only one short contract away from full UFA status just as they are ready to positively contribute against legit opposition. For years we have done all the heavy lifting for other organizations.

    Looking at the current roster: much has been made of the age gap in the room. Other than Gilbert, and Hemsky; Lowe has almost NOBODY under contract who is in the prime of their careers. Right now, the Oilers are paying huge dollars and term to guys on the downward slope of their carreers while gambling heavily that unproven players will "step up". This is an insane way to run a hockey club. Ideally, Cogliano would just now be breaking into a locker room of steady established professionals in their late twenties and early thirties having just earned his first one-way contract with a signifigant term at a low overall cap hit. Meanwhile, older players who can still be counted on to contriute in a predictable manner would be working on short term contracts in case their play suddenly tailed off. This is how smart mangers assemble competative teams.

  • Hippy

    @ Antony Ta:

    Schremp in no Dan Cleary. Dan Cleary was drafted as a scorer but never really panned out as such. But at least he can effectively play in a bottom six role… Schremp can't. Skill guys like Sakic, Yzerman, and eventually Getzlaf (when he ages) can contribute on ANY line. That is why Sakic and Yzerman had twenty year careers and Schremp won't.

  • Hippy

    @ Scott:
    You are right. They are probobly going to trade him to another team and when he starts kicking a$$ including Oilers a$$ they will say Oh we made a misstake but who knew. Well there are a lot of people who knew. Hello
    Miro Satan who knew?

  • Hippy

    Jonathan Willis wrote:

    @ Joe:
    Just like Jason Bonsignore did… oh, right.

    Jason Bonsignore was brain dead when they got him. And whoever got him was brain dead. You can't compare the two otherwise you have to say that whoever drafted Shremp was brain dead. I wonder who was it who drafted Shremp? Do you know his name?

  • Hippy

    @ Chris.:

    And you know what, Chris? You could be right. Schremp could very well be completely unsuited for bottom-six duty in the NHL. But my point is this: How do we really know what type of NHL duty Schremp is suited for? He's hardly played in the NHL.

    Ogden Brother makes an excellent point: You can often get a good assessment of what a player will be like by watching him in the minors, especially guys like Schremp who have played 100 games in the AHL. But I don't think it's an exact science. There are plenty of guys who were so-so in the AHL whose skills better lent themselves to the NHL.

    And yeah, there are guys like Cleary who reinvented themselves from skill players to role players. But at least Cleary was given a chance to do it.

  • Hippy

    Joe wrote:

    @ Scott:
    You are right. They are probobly going to trade him to another team and when he starts kicking a$$ including Oilers a$$ they will say Oh we made a misstake but who knew. Well there are a lot of people who knew. Hello
    Miro Satan who knew?

    I didn't realize the Oilers played regular season games against Novokuznetsk Metallurg.

  • Hippy

    Look!
    Enough about Schremp. It comes down to two groups, lovers and haters.

    Play the kid 15 games ,let him sink or swim.

    If he falls flat, then turf him to the AHL so you trade him or cut bait and run. If he has success play him.

    My gut feeling says given the chance he will do well(either here or elsewhere), I would prefer him get a descent chance before trading or releasing.

    Love him or hate him – if we aren't going to play him, let him have his chance elsewhere. If he doesn't fit here prehaps he will be a good fit for another NHL team? Tampa Bay or Islander?

  • Hippy

    @ Jon:

    It doesn't come down to lovers and haters.

    Camp A: Schremp was a 1st round draft pick, has good skills suited for the PP and some sweet Youtube lacrosse moves. He deserves a chance to ply his trade at the NHL level. MacTavish and the organization have held him back.

    Camp B: Schremp has been far from dominant at the AHL level and has been passed on the organization's depth chart by a number of other players. If he proves he can be a good player in Springfield then give him his chance with the Oilers.

    It has nothing to do with people 'hating' Schremp. This has everything to do with the 8 or so current top 6 players that the Oilers have who may not be superstars, but they are head and shoulders above Robbie.

    If Schremp has a great TC, has shown that he can play at both ends of the rink AND that he is a better option that some of the current Oiler players then give him a shot.

  • Hippy

    Jon said:
    Play the kid 15 games ,let him sink or swim.
    If he falls flat, then turf him to the AHL so you trade him or cut bait and run. If he has success play him.
    My gut feeling says given the chance he will do well(either here or elsewhere), I would prefer him get a descent chance before trading or releasing.

    That is all I am arguing about. Give him a good chanse and do not assume that Cogliano is good player because MacT played him and Shremp is not because MacT did not play him. Evaluate all players equally and play the best ones no metter who they are. If you compere them honestly, I have a feeling that Shremp will do well and will make the team. I said 'I have the feeling' because we don't know for sure, because he did not have a chance to show his staff in 7 games in 3 years.
    If K. Lowe did not think that Shremp is any good why did he drafted him and if he thaught that the kid is good why don't you play him?

  • Hippy

    Joe wrote:

    Play the kid 15 games ,let him sink or swim.

    This is exactly the point. Based on Schremp's AHL performance: why should he be entitled to a fifteen game audition? Oilers management owe's it to the hardworking fans of Edmonton to ice the absolute best possible team opening night given the rescources at their disposal. If Schremp can't out perform our vetrans, or Potulny, or Brule, or Reddox in all THREE zones he doesn't deserve the minutes. Forget pedigree. Forget the past. Let the best man win.

  • Hippy

    Ogden Brother wrote:

    Scott wrote:

    There are plenty of guys who were so-so in the AHL whose skills better lent themselves to the NHL.

    I highly, highly doubt that.

    IMO both Jarret Stoll and Raffi Torres could conceivably fall under the category of players that have enjoyed levels of offensive production in the NHL that were superior to anything they did at the AHL level.

    Neither one of them ever "lit it up" in the minors, yet they were deemed good enough to garner top 2 line forward minutes in the NHL not too long ago. It does happen on occasion.

  • Hippy

    @ Joe:

    Let Schremp prove himself at TC before you give him one regular season game to "sink or swim". IF he proves to be a better option than Nilsson, Cogliano, O'Sullivan or one of the other top six then he will have EARNED his shot.

    Giving Schremp an automatic 15 game NHL audition over another player would be at the expense of the team and valuable points in the standings. If you're okay with the Oilers missing out on the post-season then by-all-means let him play just to give him his chance.

    Just because Lowe drafted Schremp does not mean that this entitles him to any NHL playing time. Otherwise the roster should include Mikhnov, Lynch, Caron, Niiniimaki, Tesliuk and other high picks.

  • Hippy

    Digger12 wrote:
    IMO both Jarret Stoll and Raffi Torres could conceivably fall under the category of players that have enjoyed levels of offensive production in the NHL that were superior to anything they did at the AHL level.
    Neither one of them ever “lit it up” in the minors, yet they were deemed good enough to garner top 2 line forward minutes in the NHL not too long ago. It does happen on occasion.

    But neither Stoll nor Torres came in as top two line players. Stoll was the Oilers 4th line center behind Oates, Horcoff and York in 2003/04. And both players offered a lot more to the team than PP specialist and some secondary scoring. Stoll and Torres were defensively responsible and could play in most situations.

  • Hippy

    @ Vaclav: A great, level-headed description of the two "camps", thank you.

    I'm flabbergasted by the opinion that Schremp deserves a minimum 15-game audition (nevermind 40-60 games!) simply because he was a first round draft pick. Who cares where he was picked in the draft? Many first-rounders never pan out as NHL players, and many many later-rounders have strong NHL careers. Whether he was drafted 25th or 150th is a moot point. The only item of concern now is whether he is the best choice to fill a particular roster spot.

    He needs to earn his way on the team – being a first round pick does not entitle you to a free pass into the NHL, especially not at the expense of someone who can better fill the role.

  • Hippy

    Hey, listen guys, just to be clear, I'm not sure if I'm in the Schremp camp or the anti-Schremp camp. In fact, that's the problem. I don't know which camp I should be in because, as a fan, I haven't seen enough of Schremp in the NHL to determine whether or not he's an NHL player. The best – and worst – I can say is that he looked pretty good for a nervous call-up when MacT finally gave in to the public and media pressure and summoned him last December. His numbers were solid – three assists in four games.
    I normally like to leave the statistics to the baseball fans, but the numbers don’t really lie with Schremp. There’s a 53-point rookie AHL season, followed by 76-point season, followed by a 42-point season last year when the team stunk. In today’s offence-starved NHL, that should be more than enough to get you a good, long look-see.
    And I find it interesting that there are those who claim to be “flabbergasted” by the suggestion that Schremp should be handed a lengthy NHL audition by virtue of his first-round draft selection alone (you’re right, by the way), yet they remain curiously non-flabbergasted by the fact that Schremp has put up some pretty decent AHL numbers but has only played seven NHL games.
    Yeah, OK. There’s more to it than numbers. Maybe he’s not very good at taking draws. Maybe he doesn’t have Todd Marchant’s wheels. Maybe he’s a, uh, shrimp, physically. Maybe he doesn’t backcheck amongst the best of them. But if those things were such a concern to the Oilers, why did they spend a first-round pick on him in the first place?
    I’ll close by posing another question: J-F Jacques has played 60 NHL games and scored one goal. Other than the fact he’s 6-4, 200, what is he doing right that Schremp is doing wrong?

  • Hippy

    Scott wrote:

    I’ll close by posing another question: J-F Jacques has played 60 NHL games and scored one goal. Other than the fact he’s 6-4, 200, what is he doing right that Schremp is doing wrong?

    He can play a role that can get away with 1 goal/year.

    Schremp can't.

  • Hippy

    Scott wrote:

    yet they remain curiously non-flabbergasted by the fact that Schremp has put up some pretty decent AHL numbers but has only played seven NHL games.

    His "pretty decent" numbers haven't been the strongest on his team – go see JW's article posted this morning outlining Schremp's performance when compared with the rest of his team.

    Yes, he was a first round pick. Yes, he had an OHL season that blew us all away. Yes, he has had decent AHL numbers. What he has not had are amazing AHL numbers, nor great training camps. 15 games of Schremp in the top 6 means 15 games less of someone else. What has he done to prove that he's a BETTER option than anyone in our current top 6?

    If he comes to camp and shows he's a better choice than someone like Nilsson, then hells ya, let him stay. But he needs to earn it by showing that he can contribute more to the Oilers than another player competing for the same role.

    And Ogden Bro is right – JFJ is competing for a different role on the team (is he the best for that spot on the roster? Another discussion entirely).

  • Hippy

    @ Ogden Brother:
    Aha – there's the key word. "Role."

    J-F Jacques has a "role?" Really? Can anyone honestly say that J-F has grabbed hold of a roster spot? Does anyone have any idea yet, after 60 games and one point, exactly what "role" J-F Jacques is serving?

    He was billed as a power forward coming out of junior and his numbers in the AHL certainly make that point. But he's had 60 games to show us something – anything – and he really hasn't. Think about it.

    He doesn't hit very much. He doesn't fight very much (yes, I know, he doesn't have to, he's not the tough guy). There used to be an old joke about Steve Duchesne – he was the classic no-hit, all-score defenceman. J-F Jacques is worse than that – he's a no-hit, no-score power forward.

    He doesn't kill penalties. He doesn't stand in front of the net on power plays. And we've already gone over his NHL numbers.

    But somehow, some way, J-F Jacques knows the "secret handshake" and has been given plenty of chances to grab a roster spot.

    Ogden, your arguments are completely solid and true, but all I'm hoping is that Schremp finally gets a decent audition. Even if it's just to shut guys like me up.

  • Hippy

    Scott wrote:

    @ Ogden Brother:
    Aha – there’s the key word. “Role.”
    J-F Jacques has a “role?” Really? Can anyone honestly say that J-F has grabbed hold of a roster spot? Does anyone have any idea yet, after 60 games and one point, exactly what “role” J-F Jacques is serving?
    He was billed as a power forward coming out of junior and his numbers in the AHL certainly make that point. But he’s had 60 games to show us something – anything – and he really hasn’t. Think about it.
    He doesn’t hit very much. He doesn’t fight very much (yes, I know, he doesn’t have to, he’s not the tough guy). There used to be an old joke about Steve Duchesne – he was the classic no-hit, all-score defenceman. J-F Jacques is worse than that – he’s a no-hit, no-score power forward.
    He doesn’t kill penalties. He doesn’t stand in front of the net on power plays. And we’ve already gone over his NHL numbers.
    But somehow, some way, J-F Jacques knows the “secret handshake” and has been given plenty of chances to grab a roster spot.
    Ogden, your arguments are completely solid and true, but all I’m hoping is that Schremp finally gets a decent audition. Even if it’s just to shut guys like me up.

    Did you catch JfJ play down the stretch last year? He hit… alot, he has clearly "figured it out" (or at least he did last year. If he can't score (and he doesn't seem to be able to at the NHL level) he better throw his 230lbs around, alot.

  • Hippy

    @ Ogden Brother:
    And that's fair enough. You're right – as memory serves, JFJ looked reasonably OK down the stretch, coming off of an injury. I'm sure he probably had some good hits, but I don't remember any game-changing, Milan Lucic-type bombs. But whatever – you're right, it doesn't matter, JFJ seems to convinced the right people that there's a role for him.

    But that's not really my point – my point is that I don't remember any Oiler player getting as many games to (not) show his stuff as JFJ has.

    If it works out that JFJ turns into our Milan Lucic, it will be worth it.

    Remember, I'm not suggesting that Schremp is a franchise player or even a top-six player. Right now, I just want to see what he's like as an NHL player. I really want a chance to see him play more than 10 NHL games for us before we dump him. His seven-game "tryout" so far in Edmonton has been rather disjointed – spread over three seasons, all with a coach who seemed philosophically opposed to his promotion.

  • Hippy

    Scott wrote:

    @ Ogden Brother:
    And that’s fair enough. You’re right – as memory serves, JFJ looked reasonably OK down the stretch, coming off of an injury. I’m sure he probably had some good hits, but I don’t remember any game-changing, Milan Lucic-type bombs. But whatever – you’re right, it doesn’t matter, JFJ seems to convinced the right people that there’s a role for him.
    But that’s not really my point – my point is that I don’t remember any Oiler player getting as many games to (not) show his stuff as JFJ has.
    If it works out that JFJ turns into our Milan Lucic, it will be worth it.
    Remember, I’m not suggesting that Schremp is a franchise player or even a top-six player. Right now, I just want to see what he’s like as an NHL player. I really want a chance to see him play more than 10 NHL games for us before we dump him. His seven-game “tryout” so far in Edmonton has been rather disjointed – spread over three seasons, all with a coach who seemed philosophically opposed to his promotion.

    I guess the difference between Schremp and JFJ (opportunity wise) was that JFJ kept dominating the AHL, thus earing him a look. Schremp hasn't done that.

  • Hippy

    I think the Oilers should play me for 15 games because other wise there is no way to know how good I really am. Sure, I will look like an idiot on the ice and cost the team a lot of goals, but how can they possibly know that unless they play me 15 games.

  • Hippy

    It is time to 'put up or shut up' for him. Personally though, I think what ultimately happens is that he does not make the team out of TC, clears waivers, and winds up back in Springfield for the year. And then we can all have the 'is Rob Schremp good enough to play in the NHL' debate all over again next year…

  • Hippy

    @ Chris.:
    By those same arguments, NO-ONE on Springfield last year should be playing then. The whole team sucked.

    Prior to last season, Schremp did just fine in Springfield.

    John had it right; let the guy play at this level for 10 games. Then we'll know, and it'll be done.