Do you remember when Mike Comrie came to the NHL? As I recall, he was quickly ushered onto the top line (Smyth, Carter) and Doug Weight was given two new linemates as the changing of the guard was signaled maybe New Year’s 2001.
It did not work out long term. Having said that, Comrie did deliver results in what had to be among the softest landings in recent Oilers NHL rookie history. Comrie’s EV/60 number in 41 games (00-01) was 2.51, almost identical to Doug Weight’s number for the season (2.50), although I don’t remember who Weight played the second half of the season with and it’s reasonable to assume the number would have been better if he’d stayed on the same line with Ryan Smyth and Anson Carter (and if they’d kept Guerin, obviously).
One of the most often discussed topics at hfboards is Robbie Schremp and him getting an opportunity to play at the NHL level with good linemates and plenty of PP time. Since Comrie is the closest recent comp we have (and by comp I mean player type) let’s look and see how they compare (as best we can).
Comrie’s 00-01 season was half a season. 41 games. He averaged 9:18 at even strength in those 41 games, 2:04 on the PP and was on the ice during penalty killing situations for a total of 11 seconds (one assumes this happened when Comrie was racing from the penalty box after a 5-on-3 turned into a 5-on-4 at the end of his penalty. Seriously.) and if we extrapolate it over 82gp we get this line:
- 16-28-44 overall, 933:52 total minutes.
- 10-22-32 at even strength, 764:06 total minutes.
- 6-6-12 on the powerplay, 169:46 minutes with the man advantage.
- 0-0-0 during those 22 seconds on the penalty kill.
Let’s be clear: that’s Comrie’s 00-01 season doubled. It was dead ball era, but the Oilers did score goals, 243 of them compared to 192 last season.
For the sake of argument, let’s say Rob Schremp’s AHL season in 06-07 featured identical TOI numbers: 11:23 per game overall, 9:18 at EV and 2:04 on the PP.
Is that fair? Should we give him more TOI? Schremp was the second highest point getter among center’s in Scranton/Wilkes Barre last season. The Oilers second most often used center last season was Jarret Stoll, who averaged 18:11 on ice.
Let’s give Schremp 4:42 more at EV and double his PP time. So that makes it 14:00 at even strength and 4:00 on the PP. 18 minutes. Fair now? That’s what we’re estimating his AHL minutes were, we still have to convert back to NHL “fair number”. Cool?
Okay. Desjardins’ number for AHL to NHL conversion is .49 at age 20. Let’s use that. Just so I’m not making a mistake (and I know you’re playing along if you’ve read this far you crazy, crazy person) the math would go:
- 28 powerplay points (9-19-28) times .49 equals 13.72 NHL points. That’s in 4 minutes a night, which we’ve agreed (or more to the point, please disagree if you think it’s wrong) is a fair number.
- 25 even strength points (8-17-25) times .49 equals 12.25 NHL points. That’s in 14 minutes a night, if not please suggest what would be a fair number.
NOW, we need to estimate the NHL minutes a player like Schremp might get. Currently, if we give him 14 minutes a night at EV and 4 minutes a night on the PP, his approx. NHL equivalency via Desjardins’ number would be 8-18-26. However, that’s over 69 games (his AHL total), so to be fair the line should read 82gp, 10-21-31.
The minutes. Get to the minutes. Since becoming head coach in 2000-2001, MacT has given the following minutes to rookie forwards:
- Jarret Stoll (03-04) 945:18
- Patrick Thoresen (06-07) 776:33
- Ales Hemsky (02-03) 712:12
- Jason Chimera (02-03) 710:06
- Marc Pouliot (06-07) 600:12
- Dom Pittis (00-01) 506:13
- Brad Winchester (06-07) 476:18
- Mike Comrie (00-01) 466:54
- Shawn Horcoff (00-01) 452:12
- Fernando Pisani (02-03) 375:18
- Jean Francois Jacques (06-07) 292:44
- Zach Stortini (06-07) 207:27
- Brian Swanson (00-01) 174:38
- Mike Bishai (03-04) 128:18
- Tony Salmlelainen (03-04) 125:27
- Michel Riesen (00-01) 118:53
- Jani Rita (02-03) 114:26
- Kyle Brodziak (05-06) 110:20
Where would you rank Rob Schremp on that list? Let’s just make it simple and take Comrie’s number again, okay? It’s a 41-game total, and doubling it puts the number pretty much at the top. Since Schremp would be (if he won a job on a skill line, as per the hfboard dream) on the 1line at least part of the time it seems reasonable.
So that’s 9 minutes a night at EV, 2 on the powerplay. Not fair? How about 9 minutes a night and 4 on the PP? 6 on the PP?
Okay, Rob Schremp, 9 minutes a night, 6 on the powerplay, putting Shawn Horcoff or Jarret Stoll on the bench. We’ll go with a Schremp-Penner-Hemsky-Souray-Pitkanen #1 powerplay.
PP: 13.72 NHL points times 6 (new PP minutes #) divided by 4 (old PP number) times 82 (GP) divided by AHL GP (69). PP total: 23, let’s make it 7-16-23.
EV: 12.25 NHL points times 9 (new EV minutes #) divided by 14 (old EV minutes #) times 82 (GP) divided by AHL GO (69). EV total: 9, let’s make it 3-6-9.
So, if we give Rob Schremp all these minutes, his boxcar number could fairly be estimated to be 82gp, 10-22-32. He’s going to get 738EV minutes and deliver 9 points, a total of .731 EV points-per-game (60). Marc Pouliot did 1.17 with JF Titanic on the left wing.
On the PP, we have Schremp getting 492 minutes and delivering 23 points. That’s 2.8 PP points-per-game (60). The two players he would replace? Their PP-per-60 last season: 4.87 (Horcoff) and 4.20 (Stoll).
The minors-to-majors conversion has a long way to go, and I welcome any input you have on it. However, based on Rob Schremp’s 20-year old AHL season, even leaving aside things like skating, work ethic and how to play away from the puck, I don’t think Mike Comrie is even close to being a fair comp. It then becomes reasonable to say that given the same gift Comrie got New Year’s 2001, Schremp would not deliver similar results. Even giving him better linemates I don’t think he can get to Comrie numbers from where he is, and it’s unlikely MacT would find this to be the best option available for Penner and Hemsky.
So we’re clear, a final comparison:
- Comrie at EV in 00-01: 2.52; Schremp estimate: 0.731
- Comrie at PP in 00-01: 4.26; Schremp estimate: 2.8
I can adjust his TOI numbers to make it look better, but honestly think it’s a reasonable line in the sand. By any measure, the Oilers have better options for all of the important roles this fall and Schremp fans have two major problems with the dream of a Calder season for Rob Schremp:
- Getting a job that gets enough minutes to make a dent.
- Keeping that job.
Based on the numbers above, #1 is climbing Mount Everest and number two is climbing Mount Everest wearing soccer spikes for crampons.