Sunday Minor League Report

One day not long ago Dennis emailed me and talked about “one slot for Nilsson or Schremp” moving forward. His thought was that with the current roster filled with Hemsky’s and Gagner’s et cetera there’s only one slot for the two of them.

It’s probably a good bet.

I have looked at the two players before, specifically here. Much of what I’m going to list below is borrowed from that post but there are some interesting things that have happened to both since November.

First a few things about them as hockey players before we start with the stats. Nilsson is fast and small, very small. He is listed at 5-11, 185 but he’s probably more like 5-9, 170. Schremp is listed at 5-11, 180 and he’s certainly bigger than Nilsson. He isn’t in the same league with footspeed and both of them are exceptional with the puck.

Now a word from the coach on each player.

Rob Schremp

“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.”

Robert Nilsson

“A lot of times, we talk about that being the motivator – the failure being the biggest impetus for motivation. Clearly he’s got all kinds of skill to play at this level so why aren’t you?”

Now, something from Gabriel Desjardins. Here are their NHL equivalencies by age and per 82gp.

  1. 17 Schremp 11-17-28 (.341), Nilsson 12-21-33 (.402)
  2. 18 Schremp 16-20-36 (.439), Nilsson 4-7-11 (.134)
  3. 19 Schremp 25-38-63 (.768), Nilsson 6-11-17 (.217)
  4. 20 Schremp 10-21-31 (.378), Nilsson 10-23-33 (.402)
  5. 21 Schremp 9-26-35 (.427), Nilsson 9-29-38 (.463)

A few notes: Schremp’s 19-year old season was the one where he reportedly played silly minutes and runs out of time compared to the other numbers. It’s completely within reason to throw it out or cut it back since we have evidence there was something funny afoot skewing the numbers. Nilsson had a nice 17-year old season (draft year, he broke records in his league) but his important development years afterward were well off the pace. The reason? He wasted away in the Swedish Elite League for those two seasons, just like Rita and Mikhnov did after being drafted by the Oilers. The Canadian Junior Leagues are vital to player development because they give at-bats to kids when they need them and if an NHL team has an inkling that said player is going to rot in the SEL or RSL they need to get him over here (“You can go by camel in a bureau drawer. You can go by Bumble-Boat or jet. I don’t care how you go, just GET!” Dr. Seuss). Europe would do well to have a pooled junior league similar to the three in Canada and the USHL in the States.

Anyway, by twenty they were pretty much even as statistical prospects. It should be mentioned that Nilsson’s numbers above are a mixture of NHL time (53gp, 6-14-20) and AHL time. At 21 I think we might be able to argue that Nilsson is a bit above Schremp offensively but they are both in the range.

One final item before we move forward. It’s important to note that both of these players were in the AHL in their 20 and 21 year old seasons. Desjardins is at his best in the AHL, and to finish the stats for those seasons in question here are the goals-per-game totals for each player’s team:

  • Schremp Age 20 (3.45), Age 21(2.69)
  • Nilsson Age 20 (3.08), Age 21 (2.86)

Nilsson played 20 games with the Penguins at 21 but I’ve listed his Bridgeport Sound Tigers totals since he played 50 games there. It would make a slight statistical difference because the Penguins (3.45) were superior (2.86) to the Tigers but I doubt it would change enough to alter the conclusion that Nilsson is ahead of Schremp by a smidge.

If we can agree that Schremp is certainly a comparable to Nilsson as a player in the minors in terms of overall scoring, is there a gap between them on the powerplay and at even strength? This season 51% of Schremp’s offense (6-16-22 on PP, 5-16-21 at EV) comes on the PP which compares to 41% by Nilsson in his 21-year old season (8-19-27 on PP, 10-29-39 at EV). Is this a large enough gap to draw a conclusion? This is where TOI totals would be so useful.

Nilsson as a major league player continues to be very interesting. Let’s post him alongside Zach Parise since it has been an interesting comparison in the past. These are NHL numbers for each with age 21 missing since Nilsson was not in the NHL enough that season. 5×5 for EVs, 5on4 for PP and this year’s totals are Desjardins:

  • Age 20 EV/60: Parise 1.46, Nilsson 1.56
  • Age 22 EV/60: Parise 2.11, Nilsson 2.25
  • Age 20 PP/60: Parise 3.35, Nilsson 3.37
  • Age 22 PP/60: Parise 4.06, Nilsson 3.04

It remains an interesting comparison.

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37 Responses to "Sunday Minor League Report"

  1. Eetu says:

    “Europe would do well to have a pooled junior league similar to the three in Canada and the USHL in the States.”

    An interesting and rather original idea, but unfortunately completely unrealistic. The expenses would be so much higher than the (non-existent) income. Maybe if the Champions Hockey League survives we can have a junior league somehow financed by it, but I’m afraid that even the pan-European pro “league” has very slim chance of survival.

    In Finland it is quite obvious that for top prospects the level of competition is too low in the junior A league and too high in SM-liiga. The Finnish second tier league, Mestis would probably be just about right.

    Unfortunately SM-liiga clubs don’t like loaning their best junior talent to Mestis clubs. Instead they let them rot playing against inferior opposition in the juniors and/or getting fourth line minutes against men. I don’t know which is worse and have no idea how to fix this, but it is quite obvious that something would need to be done.

    Most of current Finnish NHLers had the luck (and the skills, of course) to play second line minutes in SM-liiga before their 20th birthday. On the other hand, highly ranked prospects who’ve more or less busted have had trouble getting third line minutes. There are exceptions, but it seems to be a good indicator.

    So if you’ve drafted a European kid who doesn’t seem to be getting second line minutes in the local senior pro league a year after you drafted him, do something. The Oilers were a year late with Rita and we all know what happened.

  2. jon says:

    I have felt since pouliot and jacques got sent down that they were going to get “rita’ed”, in which you keep their potential up by having them score in the minor leagues but clearly they do not have a future on the big team.

    I went into the year not liking what I read about Nillson and thinking he played too soft. But after his callup he has won my respect as a player that we should at least keep around.

    This leaves Schremp and I don’t believe that Lowe and company want to break in another rookie for at least the next two years. They have picked their horses and are going to see if they can compete.

    I believe that Schremp, whose value is quite high right now, pouliot, and jacques are traded before the start of next season. Also, I would not doubt that Katz will put some pressure on (win or your out) for next season for Lowe, which will force him to find cheap NHL experienced players to complement the kids.

    So, the question is if pouliot, JFJ, and Schremp are gone…what do they bring back value wise?

  3. kiwi-oiler-fan says:

    I have seen a few games for Springfield this year on the internet (hockey isn’t that easy to come accross when you are in new zealand for a year and it has a bad habit of being played while i’m working) and I thought that if speed was what he needed to improve, we haven’t come that far. He continues to have to peel back at the opposition line, because he just can’t beat anyone to the net. He also seemed to still be lacking in the defensive zone/effort area. I don’t know what he’ll bring, but i don’t imagine he will look much better in the future than he does now. Maybe he’ll be a toss in with someone to land an nhler rather than prospects.

  4. Lowetide says:

    Oiler-Kiwi, is that you?

    MacT has used skill forwards who lacked top end speed in offensive roles (notably Comrie) but Schremp would appear to be below the level offensively where the coach is willing to take the risk.

    Is Schremp really that slow? I saw him at TC and he wasn’t a plodder or anything (although he wasn’t impressive at the Joey Moss game). Trukhno looked slower.

  5. Lord Bob says:

    First of all, trading Jean-Francois Jacques right now wouldn’t net the Oilers a free air freshener with gasoline purchase, never mind a draft pick or actual hockey player. Demand for huge AHL plodders by NHL teams isn’t as high as you might think.

    Second, I’m not convinced that trading Schremp right now is the right move. We talk about the soft minutes guys but next year’s roster is unpredictable: in particular, it looks like Stoll’s going to take the pipe and assuming that one of Cogligagner is taking his centre spot that is going to open up a spot for Schremp to play for. I doubt his value is particularly high, and it might be worth taking the risk that he’s crap rather than simply grabbing the Curtis Glencross II and walking away.

    Third, as Eetu implied it’s questionable that the Europeans have the wherewithal to get a unified European professional competition going, never mind a junior one. CHL teams are licenses to print money, but European junior clubs feature inferior competition with immensely lower attendances and worse travel schedules.

  6. kiwi-oiler-fan says:

    lt – i’ve used a couple different names while posting this year and always have included oilers and kiwi in the title. i don’t know if someone else has used the name before

    as per schremps speed, it is very concerning and for the games i saw (he was playing with MAP), he was almost invisible at 5 on 5. the only time i saw him he was turning away from defensemen before the top of the circle or waving at people as they passed him backchecking. bryanbryoil believes his recent struggles are due to MAP, but i am not so sure. the reason that i think he is good as a throw in is he isn’t going to play under macT and he changes a trade from …for a 2nd round draft pick to … for a proven nhler i think.

    the only other option for shremp is to hope that macT has reached the end of his tenure with the oilers and he (and a number of other players) get a fresh start under a new regime. that might improve our team the most, but i don’t think it will happen

  7. Oiler_Kiwi says:

    Hi LT,

    I’m the original Kiwi. Been around OilFans, HF from the late 90′s. Known Dennis for years certainly. Haven’t posted for a while but certainly visit here and the the rest of the Oiler Blogs on a regular basis.

  8. honkey says:

    If it’s not top end talent don’t draft european kids. Many players here mature later when they worked their way up in SEL. Sign them as FA instead.

    And all you canadians can stop dreaming of a “real junior league” in Europe :). I mean here in Luleå you have trouble getting 200 people paying 6 CAN$ to watch a junior game in the TOP 8 which is the 8 best junior clubs in the country.

    And one other thing, can someone please explain to me where this Brunnström hype is coming from?
    Watching skills on the all-star weekend and broadcaster talking of him as the best player outside the game. It’s becoming a bit ridiculous.

  9. HBomb says:

    As a footnote to this, looks like Nilsson and Thoresen were the black aces yesterday at practice, as Glencross appears to be drawing into Rowbear’s spot on LW for the game against Calgary tonight….

    Tough love indeed.

  10. rickibear says:

    Honkey: What is your thoughts on hv71′s: Jukka Voutilainen, Martin Thörnberg as forwards. All scouting says physical, can skate, good plus minus and there stats shown higher goals to assist ratio.

    Mikko Luoma, Pasi Puistola as defenceman. Is Puistala a power play specialist with defensive liability.

    What defenceman has stood out to you the most this year in the SEL.

  11. honkey says:

    rickibear: As a season ticket holder to Luleå I cant say I have watched too many HV71 games.

    Beginning with Thörnberg, has good size and uses it well on the forecheck when delivering hits. Has a very hard shot and I think his goals come mostly by hard work. A real allround player also good in his own end. A good MacT fit as a player also playing regular with the national team.

    Voutilainen is more of a finess player, looks to positioning himself in the high slot for one-timer. Great and accurate wrist shot which he uses well. Had a cold streak where he went 7-8 games without scoring a goal.

    It’s a little hard to rate how good they are for two reason. First they play for the only team that has three real scoring lines and second they have the best two way center in Davidsson between them. His just dynamite and every where on the ice.

    Louma has been very steady in his own end the last seasons playing in Sweden but hasn’t really been considered an offensive threat until last season when he steped it up big time in the playoff and was maybe the biggest part why(in my mind anyway) Linköping went to the final.
    Now he plays alot on the powerplay and doing really well but then again playing for Swedens Detroit it’s impossible to look bad :)

    Can’t say much about Puistola, my guess he has a similiar style as Nummelin.

    Talking about defenseman general in the league it’s a weak spot overall. If you asked every team in the league almost everyone should answer that they are looking for en offensive defenseman that can deliver good breakout passes and run the powerplay.

    But there is one guy that is on his own level in the league. And that’s Ossi Väänenen and really helped a relativly weak team to a safe playoff spot in the standings.

    Oilers should go after Thörnberg, he would be a good fit for this team.

  12. pboy says:

    Fuck. Horcoff gone for the year, as per TSN.

  13. heed says:

    Fuck. Horcoff gone for the year, as per TSN.

    Maybe they can pull together, play like a team and surprise some teams. who am i kidding? this is the oilers. a bunch of fourth line grinders who refuse to grind.

  14. Oilman says:

    Perhaps Robbie gets an extended audition this year afterall….this is going to be ugly(er)

  15. heed says:

    if there ever was a time for the hockey jesus to pull off a miracle, it is now. does he get the callup? someone better.

  16. jon k says:

    Horcoff is out and people are putting their hopes on Schremp? We truly are the lost peoples of the NHL.

    Horcoff being out makes only one thing a certainty, Burke will be picking in the top 3 now.


  17. heed says:

    no one is counting on schremp. just praying for some sort of positive end to yet another dismal campaign.

  18. Bruce says:


    This dismal season just got worse, and that shining light at the end of the tunnel is Steve Stamkos wearing a Ducks uniform.


    It seems we Oiler fans have now paid twice over for the 2006 run. You can talk all you want about management and coaching, but this has been two seasons running absolutely ruined by an unmitigated string of injuries to key players. This latest loss, not only to my favourite Oiler but to a key contributor on my pool team, sucks every way you wanna look at it.


    I just don’t see how Oilers get over this one, Horc’s been their best player since Day One this year, he’s offence, he’s defence, he’s both special teams. Moreover, his absence will hardly spur them to go out and trade for a replacement as a contender might do; if anything it confirms Oilers as sellers. Not to mention cellar dwellers.


    Hurt in the fucking goddam All-Star Game.


  19. Oilman says:

    ^ What he said ^

  20. Dennis says:

    Thanks for this, LT.

    It puts the boys just about neck-and-neck and sorta supports my theory that Nilsson’s getting the push this year because of his age and the fact it’s his last year with waiver rights on him.

    And that makes sense when you look at LT’s numbers and see there’s no that much seperating them. So let’s give the older kid the first look.

    As for Horc, I imagine LT’s putting on his black suit and will have a corresponding post on this post-haste:)

    I’ll share my misery at that point.

  21. Black Dog says:

    Listening to Horcoff and MacT this is something that has been going on for a while – if it did not happen at the ASG it would have been lifting up his kid – which makes his season that much more impressive.

    Sorry though Lowe does have to take part of the blame, once again. You cannot replace Horcoff but you had better have more depth up the middle then either Gagner or Reasoner as the replacement they are looking at on the top line, according to MacT.

    nearly every team in the league has two capable centres, most have three. oilers have one, er, had one

  22. heed says:

    i think everyone thought that stoll was up to the task after last season. i don’t think they expected him to light it up but they certainly didn’t expect the total lack of anything he has provided this season.

  23. DBO says:

    MacT has officially lost it. He said in the press conference that if Reasoner had more speed he’s be Joe Sakic. @#$#@%^%#? what the hell? And he basically threw Stoll under the bus saying he isn’t a good fit on the top line. Wow, from top young centre to worse then our 4th line centre. Looks like the lines are
    and he said Pouliot is getting the call up 1st, not Schremp.

  24. doritogrande says:

    dbo. Thanks for that synopsis. I think I just shit a brick.

    Also, Cogliano is 13, not 9.

  25. heed says:

    the comment about reasoner was clearly a joke. it’s also about time someone threw stoll under a bus, he’s been brutal.

  26. CrazyCoach says:

    Hej Honkey,

    What about that Hedman kid playing defense for Modo? He looked pretty impressive at the WJC.

    Lulea to Jonkopping (sp?) would be quite the road trip.

    Any word on how Belfour is playing in the Allsvenskan?

  27. RiversQ says:

    Moreover, his absence will hardly spur them to go out and trade for a replacement as a contender might do; if anything it confirms Oilers as sellers. Not to mention cellar dwellers.

    Bruce, this is confusing. You aren’t high and suggesting that they would have been anything but sellers anyway are you?

  28. RiversQ says:

    dbo said…
    Wow, from top young centre to worse then our 4th line centre.

    Was Stoll ever the “top young centre?”

    He hasn’t looked like much more than a checker during his whole time here. Ok, fine. Checker plus pointman duty.

    (Dare I say it, but Stoll has never been as good in that role as Reasoner was before his injury.)

  29. danny says:

    RiversQ said…
    Was Stoll ever the “top young centre?”

    Last season, Stoll was emerging as MacTs #1 center period until the concussions. He hasnt rebounded this season, who knows if he ever will, but for a quarter of the season he was the teams #1 and he was doing quite well.

    I did a bit of leg work on the subject a while back after a similar discussion. I used only home games to see how macT was running his bench and compared Stoll/Horc. heres the link

  30. uni says:

    It’s official, the hockey gods hate the Oilers.

    Now…you think Anaheim’s gonna get Stamkos or Doughtry?

    I’m going to kick off Beer Friday 4 days earlier.

  31. Oilman says:

    I think they’ll get Sundin – and TO gets Stamkos or Doughty – not sure if I like that any better?

  32. Bruce says:

    Moreover, his absence will hardly spur them to go out and trade for a replacement as a contender might do; if anything it confirms Oilers as sellers. Not to mention cellar dwellers.

    Bruce, this is confusing. You aren’t high and suggesting that they would have been anything but sellers anyway are you?

    No I’m not high, in fact I’m despondent. I’m saying it makes no sense to be a buyer and that therefore there is no way to replace Horcoff from outside the organization. There is also no way to replace Horcoff from inside the organization.

    If anything the loss of such an indispensible player might hasten the selling process; it probably doesn’t matter much because I can’t see them winning enough games to stay out of the lottery no matter what. And seeing Burke the Jerk with our pick is the most depressing of all.

    Given how much has gone wrong so far, just like it’s playing to a horror script, here’s how this Murphy movie plays out: Brian Burke dangles the ever-more-enticing Oilers pick under Cliff Fletcher’s nose, tosses in Bobby Ryan and some other young buck, er Duck, and snaps up Mats Sundin at the deadline. The Ducks of course win the Cup as a result, thus relegating their own (traded to Oilers as a Pronger condition) pick all the way to #30. Oilers finish last and/or “win” the lottery, so T.O. picks first overall. Then Burke the Jerk signs on as GM in Toronto, drafts Stamkos with Oilers pick and Schenn with their own, re-signs Sundin as an UFA, Ryan blossoms, the Leafs become a powerhouse and Burke and Leaf Nation combine to become the most insufferable regime in the history of the world.

    Did I mention I’m depressed?

  33. Ribs says:

    What’s the deal with the injuries in Springfield?

    Most notably…

    Viacheslav Trukhno (Injured), Tyler Spurgeon (Injured), Sebastien Bisaillon (Injured), Jean-Francois Jacques (Injured), Mathieu Roy (Injured), Liam Reddox (Injured)

    No wonder we traded for Glencross! the relief troops are all dismembered and maimed!

  34. honkey says:

    Ed Belfour has looked really solid for Leksand in allsvenskan. But it’s no surprise, he had a good year in Florida last year and this year he has already recorded 6 SO in 18 games, has a 1.71 GAA and 0.925SVS. Leksands other keeper a junior is posting similar stats(1.70, 0.929, 4 SO). He was ranked just behind Enroth and Ridderwall and was Swedens 3rd choice for WJC.

    As everyone know Viktor Hedman i something special. He’s been playing regularly shifts for Modo this season logging around 10-14 min of icetime most nights. He has awesome coordination for his age and size and there isn’t any ceiling on how good he can be.
    He nearly pulled a spectacular move going coast to coast but couldn’t get it past the keeper but he beat 4 man on his attempt.
    Currently he has a hip injury and have missed last 3 games.

    For those that are interrested, join You can download lots of European games there.

  35. doritogrande says:

    Nilsson may not be clear yet. HS’d when we lose our #1 scorer is never a good sign. What’s worse is we pulled 5 goals off without his creativity.

  36. Dennis says:

    DG: No doubt on the Nilsson thing. MacT doesn’t spare the rod when it comes to Rowbert, no question about it.

    You think he’s gotten some clearence and then all of a sudden he’s back in the box. I’m shocked he didn’t play last night, if for nothing else than his PP numbers. There’s some statistical evidence that he should’ve been on the top PP unit in 89′s place.

    It’s unrealistic given the logjam that both Nilsson and Schremp will pan out. Just as long as one of the guys can score points and finish at say +5 over a full season, I’ll be happy.

  37. CrazyCoach says:

    Hej Honkey,

    I was up in O-vik in the summer of 2001, just to see the hometown of Foppa and many others.

    Sweden is very high on my list of places I’d like to live in for one year to coach. When I was there I went to 3 hockey schools: Furadahl, Modo, and Leksand. It was awesome.

    Thank you for the link.

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