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.
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.