Flaming Hot 20

This is Guy Flaming. There are two interesting things about him: he pronounces his first name in French fashion (Gee) and his last name the English way (Flame-ing). I have no idea how often it’s done by people but it’s unusual enough in my experience to be worthy of mention.

Secondly, he has carved out a niche as a “prospect specialist” among Edmonton’s media group. Flaming’s radio show has given insight into all kinds of Edmonton Oilers (and other teams) prospects over the last few years.

His Oilers top 20′s offer the best information about Edmonton’s prospects. Examples would be Marc Pouliot’s struggles to establish himself at the NHL level and the exceptional insight offered into how a legit prospect like Jesse Niinimaki fails to find the mark.

The latest installment offers the usual quirky choices (Jeff Petry at number 1) and some stunning glimpses into which players the skids are being greased for (Mr. “low compete level” for one). Grebeshkov’s comments re: Mikhnov will likely get the most play among Oiler fans (“The problem was that he didn’t feel like [the Oilers] wanted him, that was the biggest thing”) but the things I will take away from Guy’s list are:

  1. The graduates this season make the list very weak compared to any other list since 2000.
  2. There is no clear number one.
  3. Rob Schremp is in real trouble with this organization.
  4. I’m not the only one bewildered by Jacques’ career.

You can agree or disagree with the list (mine is to the right, December Top 20, just take out the graduates and that would be pretty close. I’d have Nash #1) but there’s information there you can’t get anywhere else and for that I’m grateful to Flaming.

One question: How come the article isn’t printer friendly?

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35 Responses to "Flaming Hot 20"

  1. Black Dog says:

    Exciting stuff, huh? The young kids who have graduated and are playing a regular role on this team.

    I think next season we may actually see very little in the way of rookies. I’m not sure what we’re going to do for kicks.

    A few nice prospects on Guy’s new list but they are all a couple of years away I would say.

  2. Ribs says:

    Is there some secret code out there that can tell us how a defenseman is going to do offensively once he makes the NHL or his top level performance?

    Petry at the top of Flamings list brings up this question. I’ve seen far too many times where defensemen have “untapped”, or “projected” offensive potential that never (seem to) amount to much. It really leaves me confused when it comes to defensemen prospects.

    Is there some drop-off point where you can safely find that a defenseman has reached his offensive potential?

    Have guys like Smid or Syvret jumped off that ledge?

  3. Lowetide says:

    ribs: Not really. Lots of D who have big numbers in junior never have even 20 NHL points in a season. In Syvret’s case the guy was on an exceptional team and his numbers were probably skewed because of it.

    In Smid’s case he played in Europe where they don’t give out 2nd assists often. Also, his scouting reports created something of a “grey area” where we (imo) looked at the positive and ignored the negative. Consider these two items (both from Redline):

    1. Has good poise and patience to move puck out of zone with crisp outlets and good decisions under checking pressure. Can make long home run passes through neutral zone to beat trap and transition from defence to “O.”

    2.Is not good as either a PP quarterback or trigger-man— has weak shot and makes poor decisions in puck distribution.

    At first those two items might seem to run counter but in reality both a spot-on. He does skate the puck out well and can make a nice headman pass, but his ability to dissect a defense with possession from a stop position or off the rush are minimal.

    Redline’s words were correct, but when you haven’t seen the player it’s hard to imagine Smid being able to cover statement #1 without at least being somewhat able at #2.

  4. Ribs says:

    Ah. So just listen to Redline and everything will be okay.

    Thanks!

    I sure wish I could remember stuff like you, LT.

  5. Lowetide says:

    ribs: I don’t remember diddly, but google search is a beauty. :-)

  6. PunjabiOil says:

    The comment on Schremp is frightening.


    “However, those who make the decisions on Schremp seek more. His skating is still considered a weakness but apparently the bigger concern now is his “low compete level.” One report described Schremp by saying “There are players who win battles in the corner and some who lose those battles. Rob Schremp has absolutely no interest in the battle.”

  7. Bohologo says:

    PO said:
    “The comment on Schremp is frightening.”

    Okay, but is it surprising? Characterizations like “low compete level” strongly suggest that the Oilers are getting ready to tie a can to Schremp. Which I don’t get-why not pump & dump in case any GMs are still besotted by the guy’s tricky shot schtick. Why devalue one of your own assets? Doesn’t make sense.

  8. Hemsky is a gangsta says:

    as good as flaming is I dunno if NHL gms are reading hockeysfuture for scouting reports

  9. Lord Bob says:

    Yeah, this team has never had a Jason Arnott or a Doug Weight or a Todd Marchant who came up onto the team afraid to even wage the battles before he matured.

    My god. He’s a 21-year-old kid who’s always been able to skirt by on sheer skill. Every indication is that the kid is slowly getting it, he is at the very least putting point up, and he can still go to hell.

  10. Lowetide says:

    lord bob: Gagner, Cogliano and Nilsson ate his lunch, went over and bitch slapped Pouliot and then Stortini kicked Jacques in the junk.

    It’s like a scene from West Side Story.

  11. Dennis says:

    Outside of the rush he made last night, I doubt there’s been more than two or three instances where it looked like Smid might do something –or have the ability to do something –in the offensive zone.

    I can’t believe the Oilers are still holding out hope on JFJ but that seems to be the case.

    Listening to KP’s reactionary audio clip regarding the honours bestowed on both Petry and Nash and KP said he expected the latter to be a third line two-way pivot.

    I think it’s clear Schremp’s gone and it’s easy not to care because does anyone expect he’d outpoint or perform any of the incumbent kid line?

    Finally, nice how Guy’s source had two teams picked out for Nash should he land in the WHL;)

  12. Guy Flaming says:

    LT: Do you actually prononce ‘Gee’ with a hard G? When I see ‘gee’ I think ‘gee-whiz’ and that’s not my pronunciation.

    Hard G, rhymes with KEY.

    keep in mind that at HF, potential breaks all ties… Schremp > Nash very slightly just on the off chance 88 reaches his.

    PJO: The Schremp description shouldn’t frighten you. Haven’t you been saying he’s as strong on his skates as a 12 year old? Maybe that wasn’t you.

    Hemsky Gangsta: No, GM’s don’t read HF for scouting reports, they have scouts already. Many DO read though, as do many players including some of the ones mentioned here. (trust me, the phone rang today and no, it wasn’t 88.)

    Dennis: Nash to the WHL… like Hanzal’s rights being traded from Prince George to Red Deer. T.J Galiardi bolted from Dartmouth (also an ECAC school) and is playig with the CGY Hitmen this year. I’d say both are prime example of what could be in store for nash.

    BTW… just so you know… there was a lot of stuff in the top 20 version I submitted to the editor that was edited from the published version. Length was the issue, although what was cut in a lot of cases I felt changed the tone of the write up on some of the players. In the next little bit, day or two I hope, there will be another release at HF which is basically just the quotes that were cut out. Hopefully it will shed a bit more light on the situation of a few more of the guys.

    Thanks for the link and the kudos LT.

    Sincerely,

    Guy, not ‘Gee’ ;-)

  13. jon k says:

    I don’t necessarily agree with Petry above Nash, but merely based on the fact that I haven’t seen enough of either to make a solid judgement.

    I think what we should be taking from this season though is that we have two stud prospects left: Nash and Petry. Chorney is a little below there but a good player nonetheless.

    Which is really exciting when you consider the crop we have being broken in right now.

  14. PunjabiOil says:

    Guy: Probably was someone else.

    I that that quote was frightening in the sense that Schremp doesn’t seem to want it enough. Coupled with the same story from Pierre McGuire that the Oilers brass aren’t happy with Schremp’s work ethic….well you put 2 and 2 together and you’re inching closer to a bust.

  15. Asiaoil says:

    Thanks for the good work as usual Guy. Generally agree with the list except that Schremp and JDD should both be lower. Schremp is gone this summer and you soft peddle JDD’s mediocre SP (#22 in the league) and his annual post-Christmas melt-down (a .861 SP in Feb) Dude’s a career AHLer or maybe NHL backup in a few years – deal with it.

    My top 10 would probably be:

    1. nash
    2. petry
    3. chorney
    4. dubnyk
    5. peckham
    6. schremp
    7. van de velde
    8. o’marra
    9. trukhno (just for you LW)
    10. plante (injuries don’t take away his potential and you question this mgmt team’s judgement about dmen at your peril)

    That’s a nice bunch of dmen – a good goalie – and a few coke machines. Good thing more than enough young offensive talent is already on the big team.

  16. Dennis says:

    Guy: I know you had a capsule ready on Pouliot in case he didn’t hit the 65 GP line. So, could you copy and paste that here for us? And give us the Full Monty; I’m sure LT won’t edit anything out:)

    BTW, interesting that you seem to think Nash is pretty much headed for the WHL. I’d like to see him in Edm so that some of the regulars can get a look at him

  17. Steve says:

    What would be French way of pronouncing “Flaming”?

  18. Shawn says:

    I think the fact that Schremp is going off to some kind of strength and skating training this summer shows that he wants it. I think there’s no question that he wants it.

    However, did anyone ever think he was a win the battles in the corner guy? I mean seriously? No one expected that to be the kind of player he was. If the Oilers expect that they should probably just deal him to Carolina or someone who lets skill players be…

  19. Shawn says:

    in french it would sound like Lamb-ing but with an F in front and less emphasis on the B.

  20. Bill Needle says:

    The “tear him down, build him back up” program on Schremp sounds something like this:
    Draft a talented player.
    Tear down any offensive gifts.
    Try to teach him how to check.
    Watch him succeed at neither.
    Build up his disillusionment
    Watch him “not compete.”
    Trade him for a puck bag.
    Do the same with Pouliot. Rinse. Repeat.

  21. honkey says:

    I’m still curious why Oilers think Omark has one year left on his contract when it expires this season.
    But that’s of course good for us here in Luleå that he’s not in the immediate plans for the Oilers for he will be a big part if they are gonna be able to ice a strong line up next year that can compete for a playoff spot :).

  22. Ducey says:

    “The “tear him down, build him back up” program on Schremp sounds something like this…”

    Come on Bill, you can’t be serious. This is same organization that is now being lauded for its development of Gagner, Nilson, Cogliano, Gilbert, Grebeshkov, Stortini, Brodziak, Smid and even Greene. Throw in a few prospects like Peckham, O’Mara and Trukhno(both of whom seem to be responding lately to the ‘tear down’), Bisaillon, and Reddox and you got a bunch of guys who “get it” – they will have to show up every night and “compete” in both ends.

    Occasionally the puck winds up in the corner or on the opposition player’s stick and someone has to go get it. You saying Shremp is somehow exempted from this duty because he can do fancy things with the puck? He is not Wayne Gretzky – who was a pretty dogged checker when he had to be. Robbie is averging a little under one point a game in the AHL – mostly earned on the PP. Can he be a good player? Sure. But he is not good enough to let him float around not playing defence.

    I like the Oiler’s philosophy of accountability – it is how you ensure that public get their monies worth and your team responds – every night.

    Shremp, JFJ, and MAP are all in the same boat. I guess you could say that JFJ and MAP have got a better NHL opportunity, but they also have skills that fit on a 4th or 3rd line role.

    I think Shremp is never going to make the Oilers simply because he is not in their top six. I don’t see him making a lot of other teams either – maybe the Leafs might like him.

  23. Lowetide says:

    Guy: There’s not a hockey fan alive who doesn’t know how to pronounce your first name.

    The shocker for me re:Schremp is how frank this organization is about first rounder. Remember MacT’s quotes on Jani Rita?

    The quotes in Guy’s article speak to heart and effort and one would think alter his trade value. Now I’m not saying 30 GM’s are reading Guy’s article, but if they’re willing to tell a reporter then word must be out through the grapevine every industry employs.

    And I’m surprised no one mentioned the Mikhnov quote. I find it bizarre. They signed him right? Made the team? That’s not wanting him?

  24. Black Dog says:

    Attitude, huh? Mikhnov’s idea of the Oilers wanting him would have been first line icetime and the cash to match. These guys …

    That Schremp quote
    is murder.

    B.N. – can’t agree with you there, based on Nilsson alone – here’s a guy who came over with the same type of rep as Schremp – terrific skills and lack of intensity. He earned his spot.

    Still a lot to like on this prospects’ list.

    Considering the hacking that the Oilers take and deservedly so in a lot of cases, Lowe and the scouts deserve a lot of credit as do MacT, Buchberger and the rest of the orgs. coaching staff.

    Good stuff.

  25. Dennis says:

    I wonder how much better off Pouliot would’ve been if he was drafted a year later and got to play with any two of the kid line when he came up last season?

    Pouliot had 31 points in 33 games last year before he was recalled — which puts him alongside what Nilsson was doing in his second year in the AHL — yet when he got recalled it was time spent with Fernie and Reasoner and outside of stints as the extra man when the goalies were pulled in Ott and TO, it’s not like he saw Smyth and/or Hemsky every game.

    So then you look ahead to Schremp this year and he could’ve broken in with some offense but he came into camp injured and that’s a tough hurdle to navigate. And it got tough and will get tougher as time moves along.

    You wonder why the Oilers drafted him in the first place and I think it’s because he’d fallen so far that the Oilers thought he was worth taking a chance on. Then they get him in camp and he doesn’t care much about working out and he won’t work on his skating so they’re about ready to cut bait at this point.

    According to Guy, Robbie has a chance to make the club in Sept but the truth is he doesn’t have a hope in hell. Nilsson’s taken his place at EV and with Gagner making his move and the Oilers PP clipping along at over 19.2% over the last 56 games there’s every reason to believe our PP has arrived.

    And we don’t need Schremp to make it go.

  26. doritogrande says:

    The extra skating and conditioning classes are nothing new to Robbie. Anyone else remember the HF article of him travelling to some woman in Sask. every summer in junior to work on his skating? Same woman that did wonders to Zack Stortini’s skating.

    Just keep him the hell away from Chad Moreau. I swear the guy’s got some voodoo going on the team where we can’t stay healthy under his tuitilage.

  27. namflashback says:

    Shremp’s best stretch in the A last year came when Nillson was acquired.

    The injury was unfortunate, but the minute he sprained his knee — his opportunity evaporated.

    However, I’m sure that the Oilers would be happy if Robbie Schremp pulls it out. It sounds pretty basic — his skating is not just average, it is below par — and his conditioning/strength is below par.

    If he can work on those things, maybe he gets an audition. If the Oilers don’t go well for the first 30GP next season — then he gets a shot as they sewer another season.

  28. Dennis says:

    DG: Pretty sure him and Zach were doing some time with the daughter of Lorne Davis.

    NFB: the funny thing is that Schremp and Nilsson really tore it up together from what I remember. If Gagner doesn’t show up full of piss and vinegar and Schremp isn’t somewhat on the limp, it could’ve been him and Nilsson and Cogs on the kid line right now

  29. doritogrande says:

    Dennis:

    Piss and vinegar says you, vodka and…well more angry-Russian vodka says I.

  30. honkey says:

    I’ve put together a video of Omark and his on ice shifts againt Timrå last weekend which was the last game for him this season.
    So for those who are interrested to se what kind of player he is check out these clip on the tube.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rST56waRppQ

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s0jpY9vDT4Y

    Other Omark news is that today he has signed an 1 year extension with Luleå in SEL which means he probably won’t be in Springfield next year.

  31. Bill Needle says:

    ducey wrote: “This is same organization that is now being lauded for its development of Gagner, Nilson, Cogliano, Gilbert, Grebeshkov, Stortini, Brodziak, Smid and even Greene.”

    Just what did the Oilers really do, development-wise, with these guys? For Gagner and Cogliano, it was draft them and play them. Neither spent any time in the Oilers vaunted farm system. Both are learning their NHL trade on the job. You can’t give the Oilers development system credit for Cogliano’s seasoning in college. His development there is due to his hard work and the teaching of his school’s coaches.
    Nilsson and Grebeshkov are pickups from other organizations. While they have played plenty in the AHL, little of their AHL careers were with the Oilers AHL organization. Since the Oilers got them, it’s into the NHL lineup they went, and to their credit, they swim a trifle more often than sink. The same goes for Smid, who spent a year in the AHL in the Ducks system, and has spent little time being poisoned by the Oilers’ lack-of-development factory before re-securing his spot in the NHL.
    To be fair, Gilbert and Brodziak are Oiler development success stories, and to a lesser extent Stortini and Greene. But none of these guys have had to re-imagine their games like the way the Oilers have demanded from Schremp and Pouliot. Gilbert remains a solid two-way dman in the Lowe mould. Stortini and Greene have to play it tough and they do. Brodziak has always scored a bit and checked hard and he remains in that role in the NHL.

    ducey wrote: “Throw in a few prospects like Peckham, O’Mara and Trukhno(both of whom seem to be responding lately to the ‘tear down’), Bisaillon, and Reddox and you got a bunch of guys who “get it”.”

    Peckham and Reddox have a chance at being role players. The others are no-hopers, because they don’t check like the Oilers want them to (O’Marra, Trukhno) or because of the numbers game (Bisaillon).

    The Oilers have improved their recent drafts, but until they stop pushing square pegs (talented players) into round holes (checking roles), their farm system will continue to be a disappointment.

  32. Master Lok says:

    Bill N.,
    Are you saying that players come straight out of the Us College and RSL with no development done by the Oilers?

    Are you saying that the Nilsson that Ted Nolan rejected and sent to the AHL is the exact same Nilsson who’s contributing at both ends for the Oilers today?

    Are you saying that the Denis Grebeshkov who was giving up MAB-like cough ups at the start of the season is the exact same player who played 27 minutes in the last game?

    Come on.

  33. Lowetide says:

    Bill Needle: The Oilers procurement department did a beauty job under Prendergast 01-07. Seriously. They identified Sam Gagner as being a quality player and their bet has paid off. Cogliano same thing. The idea that a player has to play in the Oilers minor league system in order to be considered a victory runs counter to logic.

    The really good players NEVER play in the minors. Your idea gives no credit for drafting Sam Gagner, which I think we can agree is nonsense.

  34. Bill Needle says:

    Master lok said: “Are you saying that players come straight out of the Us College and RSL with no development done by the Oilers?”
    The Oilers have very little say in the development of U.S. college players because they are not under contract. They probably have even less influence with Russian players because the players are on the other side of the world and have their own coaches and managers to answer to.

    “Are you saying that the Nilsson that Ted Nolan rejected and sent to the AHL is the exact same Nilsson who’s contributing at both ends for the Oilers today?”

    Well, he’s a year older and spent that year mostly in the Islanders system figuring out how he’s gonna get to the NHL. So he scored more (point-a-game in the AHL will get teams’ attention) and the Oilers traded for him. He’s had a good second half, but he still doesn’t do much in his own zone and can’t check his hat.

    “Are you saying that the Denis Grebeshkov who was giving up MAB-like cough ups at the start of the season is the exact same player who played 27 minutes in the last game?”

    And what price did the Oilers pay for Grebeshkov’s improvement? In the AHL, those giveaways would have cost nothing to the Oilers. In the NHL, he’s one of the big reasons why the Oilers sucked in the first half and therefore are nowhere near the playoffs. I wasn’t the only one calling him Grubbishkov for the first 45 or so games. It’s good that he’s improved, because he had nowhere to go but up. He was that bad.

    Lowetide: The Oilers scouting and minor-league coaches are two separate departments. When they pick Gagner and watch him immediately pay off, the scouts should get the credit. When they pick a lesser player and he battles his way up the chain, like Brodziak has, it’s a success for the minor-league coaching. They turned a shot in the dark into a tangible return. While the scouts have been picking seemingly good offensive players with high picks — like Pouliot and Schremp were initially described — the minor-league coaching and the players have let the scouts and the Oilers organization down. The fact that Pouliot’s latest final chance with the Oilers is as a possible poor man’s replacement for the replaceable Marty Reasoner shows how far he’s regressed under Oiler tutelage.
    As for Schremp, he’ll have to find another organization to become the next Tyler Arnason.

  35. doritogrande says:

    Slava Trukhno now on a 6 game points streak (8 points total), assumedly riding shotgun to Rob Schremp. Now i’ll start to believe that maybe he (Trukhno) has turned the corner.

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