If Rob Schremp was paid by the amount of opinions people have of him, he wouldn't need hockey. He would simply live on a pile of money, in a house made out of dollar bills.
Before he was drafted 25th overall by the Oilers in 2004, there was a lot of talk about him around the junior hockey world. Was he too cocky? Was he too skilled to pass up? Did he work hard enough? Did his immense skill outweigh his lack of defensive awareness? Since he was drafted, those same questions have been asked, but now it's mostly by Oilers fans and observers of the copper and blue.
Of those players drafted ahead of Schremp, 7 have played more than 150 games in the NHL. Alexander Ovechkin (245), Evgeni Malkin (160), Andrew Ladd (157), Rostislav Olesz (190), Travis Zajac (162), Wojtek Wolski (162), Andrej Meszaros (246). There are 2 players knocking the door of 150 games, and 4 players who were drafted after Schremp who have surpassed the milestone. All the while Rob Schremp has played in just 3 NHL contests.
So is the lack of NHL time the player's responsibility in this case or the team's? I think it's 90 per cent Schremp. Until this past summer he hasn't put in the time or work to become a pro player, although last summer he was recovering from a serious knee injury. The other 10 per cent is certainly on the team though. Last season in a call up from Springfield, Schremp received a paltry 2 games, playing 3:12 in one game, and 10:42 in another.
This season he has said all the right things off the ice, and tried to do all the rights things on frozen water. He still makes mistakes as young players do, and has only produced stat wise on the power play and in the shoot out, but has looked better than at any other training camp in the past. It still isn't likely to earn him a full time job with the Oilers to start the season but you have to think if he's called up, he'll play more than 13 minutes and change over two games.
I have heard various opinions about Schremp over the past few years, ranging from "he should be playing with the big club..." to "he should be playing with another club...." But do the Oilers really want another Dan Cleary on their hands? A player who scored a ton in junior, bounced around the NHL, before becoming a productive player with the Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings this year, 5 years after the Oilers decided he didn't fit into their plans and they bought him out.
I'm not saying Schremp will round out his game like Cleary, but this is a contract year for him, and despite his ability to crack the Oilers line up in the 4 years since he was drafted, I still think he deserves another deal at the end of the season. If J.F. Jacques earned one, Schremp has.
ROB TYCHKOWSKI, who is the Oilers beat writer for the Edmonton Sun, made a nice potential comparison for Rob Schremp the other night in the press box. Robert Nilsson. A player the Islanders gave up on to get Ryan Smyth, who is now an exciting player with the Oilers. I agree with Ice T...Schremp has the ability to bite the Oilers in the butt with another team, if they give up on him.
(uncredited photos courtesy London Knights and the Edmonton Journal)