ROB SCHREMP: GLUE FOR ONE-TRICK PONY

Loving a cocky kid and a good quote, I always hoped things would work out for Rob Schremp in the NHL, but I suspected they would not, which was affirmed today with the announcement Schremp has signed a one-year deal to play lacrosse hockey with Modo of the SEL.

From the moment the Edmonton Oilers drafted Schremp 25th from the London Knights in 2004, his obvious offensive talents were matched only by his swagger, as Jim Matheson and I noted after interviewing the Fulton, New York native minutes after he’d plummeted down the first-round pecking order and fallen into the Oilers lap.

Word on Schremp, who split the 2003-04 season between Mississauga and London, along press row and in the scouting ranks at his draft was that he was a top-10 offensive talent, but that the rest of the game fell well-short of that.

Schremp was a one-trick pony, but a gifted enough thoroughbred that after getting goaltender Devan Dubnyk with the 14th pick, chief scout Kevin Prendergast and the Oilers were willing to roll the dice.

Today, Schremp crapped out.

BRASH AND TALENTED

I always found criticism of Schremp a bit over-blown. Confident as hell? Sure. Willing to talk about it? As a hockey writer and the Oilers beat man at The Edmonton Sun in 2004, all I could say to that criticism of Schremp was "Oh, yesssssssssssssss."

A strutter and a talker was Schremp. So what? Much the same can and has been said about talented Linus Omark. I think a fair bit of that is a bum rap, too.

Are cookie-cutter answers — "I’m just happy to be here" — and similar pablum reporters must regurgitate after young players have been beaten into submission with rubber hoses by the respective media departments of teams preferable to the gold Schremp sometimes spun? I think not.

The problem with Schremp is that as a one-trick pony, he failed to turn that trick often enough in stints with the Oilers, New York Islanders and Atlanta Thrashers to compensate for the holes in the rest of his game.

I can’t find a more complete and telling analysis of Schremp than what Jonathan Willis did at Oilersnation oilersnation.com/2009/2/19/ahl-prospect-rankings-8-rob-schremp.

WIDE-OPEN SPACES

In 114 games with the Oilers, Islanders and Thrashers, Schremp scored 20-34-54, which isn’t nearly enough sizzle when there is so little steak to the rest of his game — he didn’t skate well for an undersized player and he couldn’t check his hat, let alone opposing forwards.

Some people thought Oilers coach Craig MacTavish was the problem during Schremp’s time here. It turns out MacT came to the same conclusion then every NHL GM has come to now, so off to Sweden it is.

At 25, Schremp is still young enough that he might find his game on the expansive freeze in Sweden and make some noise. The wide-open spaces, assuming he can move his feet quickly enough to get to them, are made for no-hit, all-hands players like him.

Might lighting it up for GM Markus Naslund in Modo get Schremp back to the NHL? Maybe, but I wouldn’t count on it. Schremp might have a nice career across the pond and make a good living wowing fans with his hands and creativity, but I don’t see him proving MacTavish or his critics over here wrong.

For one-trick ponies like Schremp, who has been better at filling the notepads of reporters than the net as an NHL player, circuits like the SEL are essentially hockey’s version of the glue factory.

Many gifted but obviously flawed players just like Schremp have gone before him and more are on the way.

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

    Gotta say after years of internet pissing matches todays announcement made me smile. Anyone that was complete sold by Schremp and thought the Oilers were really messing this one up obviously need to re think their ability assess what actual NHL talent is.

  • justDOit

    When I saw him play a preseason game in Calgary, I knew he was destined for the minors or Europe. He looked weak on his skates, slow, and confused in his own end. He was the Oilers’ 2nd pick in the first round, so they felt that they could take a chance on him rounding into a hockey player instead of a shootout dangler. It’s still a fail for scouting though. I don’t want to look at players who were taken after Schremp…

    But he can still have a pretty nice career. Playing for way more bucks than Joe Sixpack earns in a year in Europe isn’t exactly a life sentence of misery. He can earn a good living for the next 5 years or so, and by then could probably start working towards a PGA card. He’s pretty talented with a golf club too!

    • I remember arguing with people who felt this way about Schremp. How many training camps was he at? 4? 5? Pre – season games? 20?
      What were his stats like on the farm?

      Schremp had more than enough chances in Edmonton. It can be argued that we put more time into developing Schremp than Gagner.

      If a kid is un-coachable, you can “develop” him all you want with little or no result. The rest of the NHL has confirmed this for us with Schremp. If the Oilers get any blame here, it’s for being too patient for too many years with Schremp.

  • Kodiak

    In hindsight it’s easy to say MacT was right but I think at the time there was no reason not to give Schremp a chance to see what he could do. He scored 3 points in 4 games and was +2 in the 08/09 season but was sent back down. He played a couple pretty decent games in that stretch and brought a little steak to the party but that wasn’t good enough for MacT. I think the fans just wanted Robbie to be given a chance to show what he could do and MacT just never gave him that opportunity. Hindsight is 20/20 but I still think MacT handled Schremp poorly, along with Brodziak, Garon, Markkanen etc.

    He didn’t skate well for an undersized player and couldn’t check his hat. I thought this article was about Gagner for a second after reading that. Schremp’s PPG would have had him score a total of 35 points less than Gagner over the last 4 seasons and Schremp certainly hasn’t had the kind of icetime or opportunity that Gagner has had.

    Before all the Gagner lovers get too excited, yes I realize Gagner is a better skater and has produced more than Schremp. No doubt age is a factor, too. Everyone is saying Gagner will still improve because he is young, but obviously that was said about Schremp at that age though, too (he didn’t).

    I wish Robbie luck and I think if he has any drive to succeed left in him he will probably do pretty well over there given some opportunity.

    • justDOit

      I agree that the desriptions of Gagne and Schremp are way to similar and are therefore very troubling. Other than Schremp “being hard to coach” they sound like the same player.

      BTW both Garon and Markinnen were veteran pros when MacT had them. Their development or lack thereof are hardly a MacT thing. I think Brodziak has turned out extremely well for a 6th round pick, so is your point that MacT did a good job with him?

      • Kodiak

        My point is MacT handled quite a few players poorly, regardless of age or experience. No matter what certain players did MacT’s predisposition dictated how they were treated. There was a huge lack of consistency in what he expected out of his players. He’d leave Roli in for 60 minutes even though he couldn’t stop a beach ball but yank Markkanen 45 seconds in to a game because he gave up a goal that wasn’t his fault. He’d call out Brodziak after an average game but protect his little baby Gagner after a terrible one.

        • positivebrontefan

          Is that Gager or Gagner you meant to spell Mr. Credibility? Ha Ha!

          To bad Schremp didnt turn out. I like cocky but you’ve got to learn when to shut up when you’re not backing it up.

          Good luck kid.

          Edit: you also misspelled loser….

        • Since all these English majors are correcting spelling, I’ll point out that it is “you’re” not “your”.

          BTW, if these were intentionally spelled incorrectly and you leave out the ~ ~ then it’s no one’s fault but your own that your short comings are pointed out. 😉

          • book¡e

            No Doubt. Good sarcasm, parody, and satire do not require ~~ marks. The presence of two obvious spelling mistakes in a three word sentence following the criticism of a spelling mistake should clearly indicate that this is sarcastic in nature.

            With that said, the effect of the joke is improved greatly when people respond with indignation.

            Gord – I am pretty sure those responding are not English majors – if they are, then I suspect they are the “C’s get degrees” kind of English majors.

          • positivebrontefan

            Sorry man, I couldn’t help but take the shot on you when you gave a guy gears for misspelling Gagner and then you misspelled it. (you corrected it after)
            And no, I’m not an english major, I just had to chuckle.

            I personally don’t think MacT was great at developing elite talent. Not saying that Schremp was elite, but part of his job was to motivate Schremp to do something that came naturaly to MacT. Grind. Schremp, not a grinder.

    • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

      Define “a chance”.

      Was there not numerous pre-season and AHL games to judge his play on?

      Is he suddenly going to show things at the NHL level that he hadn’t in lower leagues?

      Yeah, he scored 3 points in 4 games as an injury callup. As soon as those players were healthy (Nilsson and Gagner IIRC) he was sent right back down, where he proceeded to do absolutely nothing in the AHL. Had he been able to go down and perform well, maybe another callup could have happened. Unfortunately his play was so bad that he never got another chance.

      For every coach that allegedly got in Schremp’s way, there were a number of things Schremp was doing that made holding him back a really easy choice.

      The fact of the matter is this… he couldn’t find the time or space he needed to be able to be a successful offensive player. Because of that he needed other areas of his game to improve to give him something else. That never happened.

  • 24% body fat

    the comparisons to omark are warranted but maybe a little unfair. It seems like omark is a little more coachable and willing to adapt.

    That being said attitude is everything. A guy i went to school with was ranked top 10 north american skaters back in 1998. He was top 3 in scoring in the whl and had a 5 goal night in which he made jay bouwmeester look stupid. He was the last cut for team canada u20 at the age of 17. He than made some stupid comments to the coaching and management staff. Low and behold he dropped to mid to late second round and only ended up playing a few games in the nhl.

    He was a great talent with the puck and lots of potential. But attitude and arrogance cost him a lot. his big claim to fame now is that he went 180 some spots in the draft before zetterberg.

    Schremp got what he deserved.

  • justDOit

    Robin, I know you liked Schremp and thought that he did not get a fare chance but comparing him to Omark is not fare. Omark is 10 times better player but even he had to go thru BS to make it in NHL.

  • JohnQPublic

    The first Oiler YouTube sensation to go bust. The first of an era.

    Lessons all around.

    Good luck Robbie. MacT was right, but you were an okay guy. Your baseball swing goal in the Island was a beaut.

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

    Louie DeBrusk called Schremp a “lobby player” during one broadcast this season (I think that’s what he said) and as funny as it sounds, it’s also true IMO. I would like to think that people who are employed full time for their hockey knowledge and also have likely also played in the NHL know better than us part time armchair coaches. And if every team in the NHL has passed on him for one reason or another… I’d say he’s damaged goods.

  • paul wodehouse

    …like a midget at a urinal this little Robbie better stay on his toes across the pond in the last stop SEL…this piece should be a solemn remainder to all the up and coming highlight reel sensations that no doubt will put their dot on the NHL map for years to come…

    i’m hoping a certain other little player with much more talent yet like-minded attitude might garner sobering advice that is offered here …this (mr.schremp) poor excuse for a cock sure participant that never delivered didn’t learn much and so he’s off to where he can play out his career in oblivious obscurity…

    b-bye robbie

  • justDOit

    Just because Gagner is a better skater than Schremp or Omark is more coachable than Schremp doesn’t mean these 2 players should be in the long-term picture of a Cup-contending Oilers roster. Being better than an arrogant, one-dimensional player like Schremp isn’t saying much, but at least there’s enough value in Gagner and Omark that I expect ST to eventually trade them for well-rounded players that can take this team to the next level. We are not the Islanders, last place is not a permanent destination.

  • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

    Honestly at this point in time he should be playing for a KHL contract that would pay him a couple mil. If he still doesn’t want to work on his skating he won’t be in the NHL ever. All his shortcomings wouldn’t be as bad if he just learnt to skate.

    If you’ve been cut by 3 teams that are close to the worse 3 teams in the last 6-7 years something is wrong with you.

  • DSF is harping on Gagner again? Quelle Surprise!

    This time he’s comparable to Schremp, oh gee, how true. Why didnt I ever see it before? What a fool am I.

    I bet DSF could make a case for Gagner being comparable to Thoresen, Potulny, and Joaquim Gage if he set his mind to it.

  • Chris.

    Schremp was given every possible opportunity to succeed. The Oilers organization loves their young players and have been in desperate need of forwards who can score… Schremp just wasn’t good enough.

  • *stands in the corner*

    Another problem child gets his live-long due. Attitudes like that need to be broken and rebuilt from the ground up. You don’t want to work hard and adjust your attitude? Maybe another team will take a chance on you… errr another league…errr….b-bye.

  • CanaDave

    Me fail English? That’s unpossible!

    I was at Schremp’s 1 game call up against the Av’s in 06-07, and to this day he remains the highmark for me in lazy backchecking. I knew from that 1 game that he would never be a player that MacT would like, and that unless he scored 40+ goals a season he’d never be able to make it in the NHL playing as he was.

  • Death Metal Nightmare

    Sam Gagner is pretty much a one trick pony also (throw up any stat you want, hes still garbage out there with no foot speed and no ability to create chaos himself. hes a vulture picking up carrion that other players create – and defensively hes still pretty bad), and not that good at it. some players just get their little weenie pet by their owners more cause its cute and cuddly.

    neither player should be invested in long term for a SC caliber team.

    • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

      I’m always baffled by what people value in hockey players.

      It’s irrelavant how goals are scored “chaos” and “vulture” is just internet non-sense, all that matters for a guy like Gagner is that you help produce them at a top 6 clip.

    • D-Man

      Wow… You’re willing to give up on a 22 year old who is on the verge of producing like a legitimate #2 center? Gagner was on pace to break the 50 point barrier before his injury… He does need to improve dramatically in the faceoff circle, but no one can question his desire to win. He’s a tad on the small side, but if he can produce at a bit of a better clip on the PP and 5 on 5 – he’ll be a keeper…

      This year is his last year before becoming an RFA… Gagner will have to take a step forward, true – but it’s way too early to give up on his skill set.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Magnus Paajarvi-Svenson rocked that Glue stick league for two seasons. Should soon find out if there was some serious tire pumping going on here as well;)

    I remember when the Oilers drafted Schremp, Pierre Maguire went on and on about how fortunate the Oilers were that a kid of his calibre was still available in that spot.

    • The SEL is a very good league. For a young player like Paajarvi, who plays over there at 17, 18 and 19, it’s a step in development.

      For players like Schremp, who are 25 and have failed to land a full-time gig in the NHL with three different organizations in six or seven years since the draft, it most often is a glue factory in terms of NHL hopes.

  • bigguy13

    RB,

    I think you could make the comparison to Dan Cleary, he was drafted 1st round 13th overall and a bust. With the Oilers he played 220 games 31 goals 54 assists 85 points, not a far cry from Schremp. When Cleary moved to Detroit, it was a new found career for him, I am sure if Schremp played on a team with players like Datsuyk it would be different.

    Agree?

    • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

      Cleary only averaged about 10 more points per 82 games in Det then in Edmonton.

      I think a big part of that would be accounted for with Cleary being 19 – 24 in Edmonton vs 26 – 32 in Detroit.

      Also Cleary’s value isn’t really in his production (though it deffinitly is an added bonus).

    • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

      Cleary has stated many times that it was a wake up call for him and turned his life around when he got to Detroit. If Schremp wasn’t smart enough to realize this after the Isles waived him then when is he going to get it?