New Comp Schremp

This is Rob Schremp. He can do lots of things with the puck, including this rather difficult looking game of “strip hacky-sack” which he may or may not be losing in the photo.

Rob Schremp’s problem is that although he’s in another dimension with regard to puck tricks he is decidedly human with foot speed. His coach said some interesting things about him not long ago when the Oilers sent him out, including this item:

“He needs the strength base and the quickness. He’s got to be strong enough to battle at a standstill with players because he’s not going to outskate many players.”

We can’t grade out progress on that level with math, but we can begin to look at Rob Schremp’s season in regard to his own past to see if there’s any progress. I like to work back from comparables, players who have some basic similarity in terms of progress through junior and minor league play who are also somewhat similar in position, size and skill set. It doesn’t make sense to compare Ales Hemsky as a 19-year old to Mike Grier at the same age because although they are both RWs and quality players there’s no real connection in style of play or role on a team.

Bill James “comparables” relied heavily on math too, but position and age were also vital to the conversation. I’ve been doing this for years now, long before blogging, and some people like it and some don’t think it has value.

Either way, it’s fun. Back to today’s subject, Rob Schremp. In his case I wanted to create an “outer marker”, a “best case scenario” player who might represent what Schremp could become. Since we’re mostly Oilers fans here, I chose Mike Comrie.

Why? Well, he’s an undersized skill center who had some skating issues and was more famous than his actual abilities warranted based on results. I call this the “Derek Sanderson” family of players, named after the terrific two-way centerman whose style and attitude drew more attention than his (considerable) talent.

This summer, I wrote about Schremp V Comrie here. That article got lots of attention (and some anger, which is fun) here. I don’t know if we’re moving the conversation forward but at least we are making a legit attempt to move beyond the “saw him good” fanbase.

When Mike Comrie was 21 years old (Schremp’s age now), he was scoring 33 goals in the National Hockey League. Let’s set aside for now how much that helped his team win hockey games, but let’s deal only with the math. In order for Schremp to be considered in any way comparable to Schremp at the same age, he would need to score a similar number of goals at the same level. Right? Of course. You could argue that Schremp could get in the conversation with a 50 goal AHL season, but the counter to that is that if he was on a 50-goal pace he’d be in the show as we speak.

Let’s go back to Schremp’s own track record and compare this season to has last few years. I like to use a tool put together by Gabriel Desjardins called NHL equivalencies. You can read all about it here. Basically they work much the same as Bill James baseball version, as Gabriel did the ciphering to come up with a way to let all the air out of minor league and junior stats and arrive at a realistic “line in the sand” for minor league numbers. In order to get a better tool, we’d need ATOI for all these leagues and that isn’t going to happen.

Okay, with that in mind, here are Schremp’s NHLE’s for the last four seasons before this one:

  • Age 17 NHLE: 82gp, 11-17-28 (.341)
  • Age 18 NHLE: 82gp, 16-20-36 (.439)
  • Age 19 NHLE: 82gp, 25-38-63 (.768)
  • Age 20 NHLE: 82gp, 10-21-31 (.378)

The season that got everyone aroused was the year he played monster shifts and incredible PP time in order to rack up the points. In baseball terms he was leading off every inning, so it wasn’t a realistic reflection. It’s my opinion that season is the number one reason there is so much confusion about Schremp as a prospect. The numbers guys (I’m in that group, but at the back of the line with addiator) never really march in lock step with the “saw him good” crowd but the disconnect that one season produced is stunning. So far the math guys are beating up on the saw him good crowd pretty well btw.

So, 11 games into the new AHL season, has Schremp progressed? A few facts first:

  1. Schremp has played in 9/11 AHL games.
  2. He’s played in the NHL this season, but we’ll disregard his time for our purposes.
  3. He played on a solid offensive team in 06-07 (3.36 goals-per-game)
  4. He’s playing on a less effective offense team in 07-08 (2.91 goals-per-game)

With those items understood, we can expect his offense to be down slightly year over year if he’s running in place. Fair? Okay, here’s the last three seasons with 07-08 thrown in at the bottom:

  • Age 17 NHLE: 82gp, 11-17-28 (.341)
  • Age 18 NHLE: 82gp, 16-20-36 (.439)
  • Age 19 NHLE: 82gp, 25-38-63 (.768)
  • Age 20 NHLE: 82gp, 10-21-31 (.378)
  • Age 21 NHLE: 82gp, 13-25-38 (.463)

It’s early, but there’s some progress here (by the math). Now, I’m still going to give the MacT quote above more weight and if I’m in a hockey roto league (someone should make one, not just a boring pool but a real roto league where WHIPs can kill) he’s not a guy I’m spending one dime on but Rob Schremp appears to be progressing.

We need to find a more realistic comp, though. Who should it be? I suggest Robert Nilsson. Just based on the pure numbers he would seem to be a fine comp for Schremp. Here, let’s do that:

  • Age 17 NHLE: 82gp, 12-21-33 (.402–ahead of Schremp)
  • Age 18 NHLE: 82gp, 4-7-11 (.134–Nilsson has a bad year)
  • Age 19 NHLE: 82gp, 6-11-17 (.207–Schremp’s big season)
  • Age 20 NHLE: 82gp, 10-22-33 (.402–ahead of Schremp)
  • Age 21 NHLE: 82gp, 9-29-38 (.463–spot on with Schremp)

A quick note: Nilsson’s 20 year old season above contained a lot of actual NHL time. I just added in the AHL stuff to his NHL totals.

It’s a meandering comp but at 21 (Nilsson last season, Schremp this year) they look like a solid match. Anyone else?

Here’s a reality check. Since MacT took over, pretty much all of the guys who spent a lot of time in the minors (and knocking on the door) were two-way kids, plumbers and skill guys so far down the ladder they needed to get some breaks (Peter Sarno, that kind of guy).

The real skill guys, the kids who could bring it, all went to the show as soon as they got a chance. They sent Hemsky back to junior but he stayed at 19 so MacT and the coaching staff could protect him (remember those quotes), Cogliano made it without a throw this spring, and most damning of all the kid Gagner made the team at 18.

One of the reasons he did was Robbie Schremp. He’s making progress, but he’s going to need some breaks. And if he’s as close to Robert Nilsson as Desjardins’ implies here, what are the odds he gets those breaks with the Oilers?

If this were 1973 and the Habs, he’d be Chuck Arnason. Pollock would have had Bowman play him for 20 games until he was famous enough to flip for a draft pick. I suspect Schremp’s future could be very similar to Chuck Arnason’s.

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14 Responses to "New Comp Schremp"

  1. jadeddog says:

    i like this post as much as i like all yuor posts lowetide, its well written and makes good comparisons

    but i’m just so sick of talking/reading/hearing about schremp at this point…. its become clear to most people that hes just not that great of a hockey player, and probably wont ever be …. the amount of coverage he still gets by oiler fans is a sad testament to how starved we are for a player who even *looks like* a sniper (even though hes obviously not)

  2. Lowetide says:

    jadedog: I think we do that with all the guys who stall. Rita was a daily thing when he was in the AHL.

    I don’t think Schremp is a guy the organization should give up on though, and that does make him of interest. He isn’t Michael Henrich or Jesse Niinimaki.

    He could certainly have an NHL career.

  3. Matt says:

    It’s a meandering comp but at 21 (Nilsson last season, Schremp this year) they look like a solid match. Anyone else?

    So the good news is, Schremp might be viewed by some other GM as a meaningful chip in a trade. The bad news is, based on how many GMs reportedly turned down the Nilsson deal last February (c/w 1stRd pick!), not by many of them.

  4. Lowetide says:

    Matt: Yeah, that’s the problem. All these kids (Pouliot, Schremp, Nilsson, Jacques) are taking up roster slots but not progressing as useful NHLers.

    So their low value means they stay in the organization, and their similar skills mean they’re on a constant shuttle because no one is good enough to grab the job.

    The “jobs” have already been won by guys who the Oilers won’t deal (Cogliano, Gagner).

  5. vb says:

    Do you think it’s far off base when Lowe/MacT compare Schremp to Marc Savard? That’s the comp that came up in camp and looking at the junior/AHL numbers it appears Schremp is of a lesser pedigree.

  6. RiversQ says:

    Lowetide said…
    Matt: Yeah, that’s the problem. All these kids (Pouliot, Schremp, Nilsson, Jacques) are taking up roster slots but not progressing as useful NHLers.

    Of course, it’s not helping that they often aren’t being used properly either.

    There’s only so much soft ice to go around and the Oilers are stuck trying to get Gagner out for the shift after a penalty kill, so what can you do with the other youngsters?

  7. lejane says:

    In terms of development, what’s the difference between playing guys like Pouliot, Schremp or Jacques hard minutes in the AHL or soft minutes in the NHL?

    If they aren’t going to help the team win at the NHL level, does it hurt them to stay in the AHL?

  8. Lowetide says:

    RQ: I try not to make excuses for “my guys”, but I did find the move to RW at the start of camp curious. No arguing the success of Cogliano or Gagner, but Pouliot was a pretty nice young center the spring before who seemed to be getting traction.

    Either way, I’ll stick with him for the long term. I agree he’s an NHL player and imo a strong candidate to be the first prospect to bite the organization in the butt when he goes elsewhere. He has a wide range of skills, those guys don’t grow on trees.

    lejane: I always look at it in slots, development slots. If we numbered prospect development based on “established level of ability” like this:

    1-junior
    2-impact junior
    3-minor league regular
    4-quality minor league regular
    5-fringe NHL player
    6-NHL regular
    7-quality NHL player

    then Pouliot has been a 5 for awhile but can’t get traction to slot 6. So if he has to go down to the AHL to get confidence back then so be it.

    As for the idea that young players help NHL teams win in their formative years, I’ll tell you that in almost every case they don’t.

    And I mean across the board.

  9. Dennis says:

    Schremp’s a guy I really don’t have an opinion on, one way or the other. I didn’t flip out when he had a poor ’07 season because it was his first year and he was part of a split affiliation. And because we knew just how much TOI he was getting in his last year in junior, a few of us knew his numbers were inflated. Now, this season, he’s gonna have to be at least at a PPG before I think he’s ever gonna be able to help us. Outside of that, the kid is certainly gonna have to work on his skating, that much is obvious.

    In considering the Comrie comp, though, Lain, wouldn’t you agree that we’d be much better off now with Comrie in the soft min role than Stoll? Stoll has never really gotten a lot done at ES and he’s never really done a good job at playing tough min either. Right now he’s a fellow that needs soft min plus PP time in order to get things done. In that regard, wouldn’t we be better with Comrie now then we are with Stoll? Assuming that Jarret never evolves into a tough min guy, I’d have to say that Comrie would be a better current option.

    I know, I know, Comrie’s making more, he’s already past the time when his servicetime somewhat controls his value and he wouldn’t come back here anyway. And, of course, Stoll’s only in his fifth year of service and he can win faceoffs. But it just came to me that both guys are soft minute munchers.

  10. Lowetide says:

    Dennis: I think Stoll has taken a big step back due to the concussion and we’re going to have to begin talking about him being a guy who didn’t come all the way back.

    He LOOKED like a player I’d rather have on my team than Comrie 10/10 times. But coming back from that first concussion too soon appears to have had a major impact on his career.

    Hockey’s Tony Conigliaro.

  11. Dennis says:

    Well, nothing against Jarrett, because he seems like a nice guy, but let’s hope the Oilers don’t think they’re getting a great deal by signing him longterm because he’s having a “bad season” and in the process, choose him over Horc because you can probably get Stoll for cheaper.

    And before anyone laughs, if this org can undervalue Smyth’s role re: tough min, then they could easily do the same thing to Horc.

    BTW, I’m not ready to give up on Stoll just yet. I think he’s a guy that just can’t produce with anyone, he’s gotta be with certain guys. That being said, not only is the guy not scoring, he’s not even hitting the ball hard. He’s hitting a scattered shot to the warning track, but it has a lot of air underneath it.

  12. Big T says:

    I’ve been saying for some time now that Stoll is a guy that is far too low event for those primo minutes.

    Ideally we’d have a soft minute killer and put Stoll in more of a checking role. I’ve liked Stoll for some time and there was that spell there where he really seemed to put it together, but really, name another time he’s “hit the ball hard” as Dennis said?

    I hate to get all Klowe on you but the lack of production against soft opp. in the finals was another key contributer in that heart breaker of a series.

    T

  13. Dennis says:

    Well, Stoll had nothing but soft time that entire playoffs and didn’t do a damn thing with it after the SJ series.

  14. toqueboy says:

    not that i’m a massive schremp fan (never seen him good), but as an Oilers fan, I cross my fingers thatI he’s right in the middle of Cammelleri’s 03/04 season as opposed to Nillson’s 05/06 season

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