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.
“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.”
“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.
- 17 Schremp 11-17-28 (.341), Nilsson 12-21-33 (.402)
- 18 Schremp 16-20-36 (.439), Nilsson 4-7-11 (.134)
- 19 Schremp 25-38-63 (.768), Nilsson 6-11-17 (.217)
- 20 Schremp 10-21-31 (.378), Nilsson 10-23-33 (.402)
- 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.