In light of yesterday's unconfirmed reports that prospect Rob Schremp had asked for a trade from the Edmonton Oilers, The Pipeline Show did some digging to gauge the accuracy of the rumor.
Schremp, one of the last players cut from NHL training camp, has appeared in 3 of Springfield's 5 games after a late start due to a death in the family. The New York native has picked up 3 assists to begin the new campaign.
The forward needed no encouragement to talk about the quality of the AHL club this year as the abundance of talent means several players are healthy scratches on a nightly basis.
"There's a lot of depth here this year and guys have battled every night for a job," he said, "We've got the ability down here to have a really good team. We have a lot of youth and now we just have to mature a little bit together but when we do we're going to have a sick team!"
Yesterday the Falcons sent forward Bryan Lerg to ECHL Stockton simply to get him some playing time as competition for an AHL spot is keeping players out of the line up who deserve to play. Lerg has only dressed for a single game thus far and to hear Schremp describe him, it's certainly not because the rookie has done anything wrong.
"We have four guys in the stands who could be playing but what do you do?" Schremp said. "It's a good thing and a bad thing; it's hard for the guys sitting out but for the management and staff I mean, look at our team... you get a guy who plays poor one night and the next night you could have Lerg come in and he's not exactly a plug or just a guy you throw in - Lerg can make a difference."
"[Lerg] is going to go down there and play his ass off," Schremp predicted, "I talked to him last night after I heard the news and he wasn't down. He had a pretty good attitude about it because he understands and he just wants to play. I bet he'll be back here in no time."
As is normally the case during the early parts of the AHL year, rosters and line combinations in Springfield have been very fluid. Schremp has played with several different line mates including Ryan Potulny, Gilbert Brule and Slava Trukhno and he mentioned that there was definite chmistry there.
"It's going good, it's been fun and we have a lot of good guys here and a lot of upside," he said.
Sound to you like a frustrated player who has demanded a trade? Me neither but to make it official, I asked if there was any truth to the buzz that he'd made the request.
"Yeah, who the [heck] said that?!" he immediately responded. "That's bull[loney]! I even talked to Pat [Morris] this week but I never said anything about a trade, [heck] no."
Suffice to say that the player vehemently denied making any such demand and I confirmed the same from the Oilers end as well.
Schremp did opt to make one change this past off season when he parted ways with long time agent Scott Norton. Pat Morris is now Schremp's agent, a move which the player explained was due to recommendations from friends rather than as a slight to Norton.
"I'm just trying to change things up, a change in direction," Schremp said, "Pat's a big agent and he's got a lot of big NHL guys. He's got a lot of my buddies, [Corey] Perry and [Danny] Syvret, and they talk very highly of him. You talk to your buddies about how they deal with their agent and sometimes it's time for a change."
"Scott was good and he worked hard," Schremp insisted, "He was a good agent and he works hard for his guys but sometimes things just don't work out and after two years in the minors... you just have to change your ways a bit you know?"
"He never did me wrong though," he added.
Some outsiders may have viewed that the changing of representation and failing to crack the NHL roster were evidence of a disgruntled employee but clearly that's not the case. For a brief moment it appeared as though there was a two-horse race between Schremp and Gilbert Brule for the final roster spot but then came the arrival of tough guy Steve MacIntyre and the writing was on the wall. Still, Schremp took the high road and has dedicated himself to working his way back to the NHL.
"They obviously wanted more toughness and they got a hell of a guy for that because he's a monster!" said the 22-year-old of MacIntyre, "He deserves it, he's had a hard fight to get to where he's at. It's obviously tough because it was the last cut and when he came in, I went out but I'm glad I got to know him a bit, he's a really good dude and he deserves what he gets."
Lastly, this passed summer the London Knights threw a team of alumni together and went overseas to play a 7-game tour against some European pro teams. Schremp was joined by Oilers Sam Gagner and Marc Pouliot. I was always curious to know how he became involved considering the closest Pouliot ever got to being a former Knight was losing to London in the 2005 Memorial Cup. That fact wasn't lost on Schremp and the rest of the Knights in Europe who found it in their hearts to give Pouliot the gears.
"We gave him a lot of grief about it!" Schremp laughed. "I don't think he put that jersey on with a lot of pride, I think he had a pissed off face every time he pulled it on!"
The exhibition tour was meant as a tune-up for training camps and quickly got the players in game shape.
"It was full out, there were like three fights, one game a couple of guys took runs at Sammy [Gagner]," said Schremp, "You think it's just August hockey and then there's a bunch of fights and it's like it's mid-season already."
Last summer there was some discussion that Schremp was eyeing European options and with the Knights tour now under his belt, I asked him if there was some interest on his part to explore those options even more now.
"Not really, no. I'm not interested right now," he said. "It's cool to go over and see because guys talk a lot about Europe and what it's like and you want to see it first hand but in now way was I like 'man I want to play here!'. I want to play in the NHL."
So if you're keeping score at home... although he does have a new agent, Schremp has not demanded a trade, he has big expectations for the Falcons this year and is still happy to be part of the organization.
(uncredited photos courtesy: Springfield Falcons and a drunk fan in Europe... no, really.)