Candy’s Dog

One of the great joys of fandom is following the process of development by your team’s prospects. Some teams, like the Flames, search caves and alleys for knuckle draggers and addled men. We’ll call them the Lennie Small group.

Other teams, like the beloved yet star-crossed (since the Messier trade) Edmonton Oilers, prefer the brainiacs that we’ll call the George Milton group.

By far the largest group of prospects are the kids who aren’t even good enough to play a part in a Salinas tragedy. They’re the tweeners, the Mike Stenhouse group. They’re Candy’s Dog.

The first really good article on Rob Schremp came from HF’s Guy Flaming in the months after he was drafted. That article showed a rather fractious kid, the kind of guy who (as my Dad would have said) was going to invite more hell than a little bit. In the article Schremp is quoted as saying “I use the F-word when I talk to my friends and maybe I do swear too much but again, that’s how I am and I didn’t want to go in there and lie about what kind of personality I have. That’s what they want, they want to try and get a read on what kind of kid you are so if I go in and act like somebody else then they’re not getting the right read on me you know? It was like I’m talking to you now, I went in and answered their questions and with some of the questions you get tense and words just start flying out of your mouth and you realize after and say ‘ah man, I really shouldn’t have said that’.”

The “F” word is a staple in the world of hockey, so that wouldn’t have come as a shock to anyone. However, something pushed him down the draft list in 2004 and it was not the “F” word. What was the flaw, where was the friggin’ in the riggin’? Redline report from their 2004 draft guide:

Huge talent level, probably the best of any North American in this draft. Tremendous hands and magic with the puck. Average skating keeps him from being a truly special offensive player, yet still can be explosive. Unfortunately that usually only happens when he gets lots of ice to work with. Solid leg strength and low centre of gravity make him difficult to separate from the puck. Can make good d-men look stupid 1-on-1. Selfish and petulant with an attitude of entitlement; difficult teammate. Always looks to be focus of attention, but wants to make things happen and many times does. Unafraid of traffic. Lacks defensive intensity and off-ice issues are a concern, but abilities are first rate. If you can get past the baggage, he’s your man. Projection: Top flight playmaker or total bust.

These years later Rob Schremp is not close to the former and has a ways to go if he’s going to be the latter. There is mounting evidence that Schremp’s time as an Oiler prospect may be coming to an end. We can trace this back to comments from coach MacT, Kevin Prendergast and various unnamed sources over the years. Here are a few:

  • Scout: “There are players who win battles in the corner and some who lose those battles. Rob Schremp has absolutely no interest in the battle.”
  • MacT: “He’s not ready for the NHL yet on a full-time basis. I think that’s clear. I can see him coming back up, but I think the things he needs to stay up here long term are not quick fixes, they’re longer-term fixes. 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.”

There have also been positive quotes, including some from his minor league coach:

  • Bucky: “His vision is unbelievable at this level. He passes the puck like a pro.”
  • Daum (today’s paper): “People talk about his poor skating, but he’s not a poor skater, he’s just not as aggressive as he should be when he doesn’t have the puck. He has to reinvent himself.”

In today’s Journal, Matty says “while the Oilers won’t say they’ve written him off, they will likely try to move him this summer.” If they do move him in the summer, I wouldn’t expect too much in return. Every team has prospects going the wrong way.

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38 Responses to "Candy’s Dog"

  1. Yeti says:

    Maybe we could get that Torres guy out of Columbus for Schremp. He’s probably available for a border-line bust former 1st round pick and would strengthen our weak LW.

  2. Scott says:

    They’re probably going to flip him in a deal similar to the one that they made when they got Potulny for Syvret.

  3. Doogie2K says:

    He’s probably available for a border-line bust former 1st round pick

    Whatever would give you an idea like that?

  4. oilerdago says:

    It would be nice to get something for Schremp given that he’s not going to figure into the future here.

    The question is does another team think he’s worth more than a bag of pucks.

  5. Lowetide says:

    The value of faded first round picks normally isn’t very high. Injury prone veterans, that kind of thing. Picks outside the first round.

    If Phil Esposito was the GM somewhere we could talk, but as it is the Oilers might be better off signing him to a one-way deal and showcasing him.

    It would mean using a roster spot for the first half of the year or so, Pollock used to do it all the time.

  6. Bryanbryoil says:

    Why not keep him and hope that he does well next year at the AHL level if he doesn’t make the team to bolster his trade value? His trade value will never be lower than what it is right now unless he’s a corpse. Trading him for a bag of pucks would be bad asset management.

  7. Lowetide says:

    Bryan: I agree. Unless someone comes calling with a very good offer it doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.

  8. oilerdago says:

    BB: Trading him right now may be bad asset management, but what if he decides to sign in Europe this summer, what do you have then?

  9. B.C.B. says:

    No matter what is done with Schremp it will be bad asset management. He’ll likely go for a 3rd rounder or a fourthliner: which, will have most fans saying he should have been trade three years ago. If he goes to Europe, people will say we ruined him and got nothing for him. The only way I see this working out is if he is part of a bigger package: then he is a throw in, no net grown, maybe changing a 3rd round choice into a 2nd going back, that is it.

    Schremp sucks, and there is nothing the Oilers can do to return the luster on this beat up Hockey-Jesus.

    PS: thanks LT for adding mine and Shepso blog to the blog roll.

  10. mc79hockey says:

    At some point you need to start giving your development minutes to guys who have a hope in hell of contributing at the NHL level. Schremp is a bust. Does it make sense to keep wasting development resources on him?

  11. Lowetide says:

    You’re wrong. How do you know? Bastard!

  12. Bryanbryoil says:

    MC-Saying that he’s a bust on an organization that has had other players come in at similar ages and fill roster spots is jumping the gun. Pouliot, Jacques, Brodziak, and Nilsson, that’s 4 players that were around the same age before becoming full time NHLers.

    For arguements sake, let’s say that he is a bust, why trade him now when he’s already proven that he can be a 1PPG player in the AHL at a young age? If he’s destined to be a career AHLer, we may as well wait until he puts up the points again and THEN unload him.

    Like LT said, unless someone comes to us with a deal that makes sense, we may as well let this one time classic Pontiac GTO rust into the ground than sell it for a couple of hundred bucks.

    Unless you find a GM that believes in his game as much as I do, why trade him for nothing (unless he’s planning on bolting to Europe?).

    If Schremp is considered a bust, then really so is everyone on the Falcons roster, IMO that’s too bold of a statement because the team sucked this year and everyone’s production sagged because of it.

  13. PunjabiOil says:


    we may as well let this one time classic Pontiac GTO rust into the ground than sell it for a couple of hundred bucks.

    I said a ten-second car Bryan, not a ten-minute car!

  14. Icecastles says:

    I think the problem with so much of the analysis of Shremp is that the question one would think we should be asking is, “is he any good? Will he be able to compete in the NHL?”

    Instead however, we ask, “Is he as good as his draft position indicated he would be? Will he be a top-six difference-maker and score the highlight-reel goals we thought he was capable of?”

    We seem to look at him like it’s stardom or nothing. He’s not blowing the doors off in the AHL this year, but like Bryanbryoil says, by that metric, we would virtually have to drop his whole team… it’s a bad year to gauge, and he just might be a guy we have to bring up on a one-way deal before we give up entirely.

    This year, noise was made several times by coaching that they didn’t want to bring him up unless it was for an extended period and he was getting top-six minutes. Instead, they brought him up for three games (two of which were pretty damn good). How many freakin’ games did JFJ get?? If he sucks, risk him on waivers or try to trade him. But it’s obvious that what they are doing to develop him right now is not developing him. So they can keep trying the same thing expecting different results, they can give up and throw all that time and money out the window, or they can try something new and see what happens.

    I don’t like Shremp – I am tired of hearing about him, I think he’s a prima-donna and he is obviously not interested in consistently working at the parts of his game that he needs to. But I also think he was given a raw deal by the Oilers this year. Both he and the team deserve better than the results they have so far. But I don’t know that will ever happen with MacT at the helm.

  15. mc79hockey says:

    @BBO – I don’t know that one season means he’s a proven PPG guy at the AHL level but that’s neither here nor there.

    Pouliot, Jacques, Brodziak, and Nilsson, that’s 4 players that were around the same age before becoming full time NHLers.

    He’s not the same type of player as the first three. He’s significantly behind Nilsson. If you think he’s going to turn into Kyle Brodziak, fill your boots but I wouldn’t be burning a lot of development time trying to make that happen.

    …why trade him now when he’s already proven that he can be a 1PPG player in the AHL at a young age? If he’s destined to be a career AHLer, we may as well wait until he puts up the points again and THEN unload him.

    I’m not convinced that his value will ever be any higher than it is now. He’s young enough right now that some other team might think that they can fix him. Another year older doesn’t necessarily help, even if he has a better year.

    Unless you find a GM that believes in his game as much as I do, why trade him for nothing (unless he’s planning on bolting to Europe?).

    His mother doesn’t believe in him as much as you do. You trade him now because he’s eating up developmental time that might be used on other high end players. That said, he might earn a reprieve because the Oilers don’t have a lot of players of his type who they need to be feeding the TOI too.

    If Schremp is considered a bust, then really so is everyone on the Falcons roster, IMO that’s too bold of a statement because the team sucked this year and everyone’s production sagged because of it.

    It does have to be SOMEONE’S fault that the team sucked. That said, Schremp plays a different role than the defencemen and such who look like real prospects. They’re going to be evaluated by something other than torching the league.

  16. Bryanbryoil says:

    It seems more and more like Schremp either doesn’t have what it takes, or isn’t willing to do what it takes to be a great NHL player. However he has the tools to be a good 2nd line guy and a top PP guy. He still has warts in his game, but he seemed to be much more willing to lay it on the line in Edmonton, and IMO until he gets NHL time he’s not going to be happy with his situation and he flat out might not give a crap until he gets a fair shot.

    As for Schremp Vs. Nilsson, they are much more similar than you’d like to admit MC. The biggest differences are that Robert is a better skater, Schremp is a beter PP player, and Schremp USED to be considered a sniper prospect (until this dreadful season).

    Keep him, give him one more shot (maybe MacT finally gets the axe this summer) and boost his value for trade or see if he finally lives up to even some of the hype.

    Liam Reddox wouldn’t be given the chance that he has this year on 25+ NHL teams, does that mean that he’s a bust? IMO we let a superior prospect in Troy Bodie walk this past offseason.

  17. jon k says:

    I think it might be prudent at this point to look for Schremp comparables.

    What players have found NHL success at age 23 who have comparable flaws and skills?

    Here’s my take from what I’ve seen of him, keeping in mind that I’m fairly Schremp neutral.

    He’s an average skating, slightly undersized skill forward who has poor balance and strength along the boards.

    His stats for the OHL were good but not great for an offensive forward, except for his 19 y/o season. However, those numbers should be tempered as they were likely padded by playing on the Knights and with heavy PP production.

    He’s completing his 3rd pro season as a 22 y/o. He will be 23 when camp breaks next season.

    His track record in the AHL has been inconsistent. His first pro season could be described as acceptable for an offense-first forward, while his second was good but not great for a 21 y/o. His third season was a significant step back.

    So basically, Schremp can be largely described as a one-dimensional player who is perhaps above-average but not exceptional in that dimension. His other qualities physically and technically limit his upside as a role player in the NHL.

    Is he at an age where it is likely he will never develop into a useful NHL player?

    Some one-dimensional players might come around this late, but I have difficulty thinking of any.

    Krejci is one that comes to mind, but he’s in the NHL in his 22 y/o season and his AHL track record has always been substantially better than Schremp’s. He also spent half of the last season in the NHL.

    The player that I always thought Schremp could compare to, Ray Whitney, was in the NHL for his 22/23 season. His statline on a mediocre Shark’s team was 25 points in 39 games with a -7 during the lockout shortened 94-95 season. The team was a -32 that year.

    I think the analysis at this point should just be cut and dry and can be made without any personal feelings regarding the player. What players with comparable backgrounds and abilities made it to the NHL at 23?

    If there aren’t any I think we should accept that the player isn’t going anywhere and move on. Perhaps someone more knowledgeable that myself, of which there are many, can think of some other pertinent comparable.

    Relying on a player to be the exception rather than the norm is probably a poor managerial strategy.

  18. jon k says:

    A trend that I did notice when looking at a few players who found NHL success being one-dimensional was that, if they did spend time in the minor leagues, they were almost always getting their shot in the NHL by their 22 y/o season.

  19. Jonathan Willis says:

    I keep linking to my first blog post, back in April, because these were Schremp’s comparables and he’s moving closer and closer to the bust line. I don’t think there’s ever been a similarly hyped OHL scoring star who had a career after the AHL career Schremp’s put together.

    I saw Ray Whitney mentioned above, but at 21 he scored 40 points in 60 games for San Jose and he had better than 120 games in the NHL before he turned 23 – he would have had more if not for the lockout. Schrmep turns 23 this summer, and has yet to hit the point per game mark in the AHL (the closest he came was 76 in 78 in 2007-08).

    Anyways, back in April I wrote: The high-water mark for Schremp at this point is likely as a 50-60 point guy who is one-dimensional and runs the PP. The low water mark is a few more NHL games and lots and lots of packing. If he goes for a 2nd-3rd rounder at the draft, it would probably be fair value.

    I think it’s as true now as it was then, although we’ve seen him move closer to the low-end mark than the high-end mark this season. There are already too many similar but superior players on this team, and the smart money says that Linus Omark and maybe Jordan Eberle eclipse him next fall.

  20. Bryanbryoil says:

    The biggest issue that I have is that for the first time in his NHL life, he didn’t look out of place this year. That IMO is what should matter, how does he fit playing in the NHL? IMO he was far more effective than in previous seasons. After he was sent back down it all went south. A LOT of players can put up gaudy numbers in the AHL but can’t do a damned thing at the NHL level.

    I am a strong believer in every player is an individual and should be treated as such, while others look for exact statistical compareables to write the history books for the future before it comes. It’s fair to say that the odds of him becoming a 1st line player are low as an NHL player, however there are areas that he could improve and still become that player. The likelihood of him doing these things however are becoming more microscopic by the day.

    He is still all of 22 years old, has a rumored attitude issue, and maybe he just needs to get set straight and the rest falls in line. Or maybe it’s not that simple. His passing ability is exceptional, and what he is able to accomplish as a less than fleet of foot individual makes me wonder what he could accomplish with above average NHL speed and a chance.

    The bottom line is that unless he sits on his ass and does nothing this summer, we may as well see if a 2nd consecutive summer of training will get him on the right track.

    I know that I’m clearly in the minority in this opinion, but anyone that gets to see him for an extended period of time can see the massive amounts of potential in this kid. Hopefully it will finally be realized here and not wasted by Rob or the Oilers.

  21. jon k says:

    Willis: Good stuff. That’s largely what I thought the case might be, that there are few comparables to begin with and the number of those with a successful NHL career who were held out of the show this long is dwindling.

    Re Whitney: Whitney was one that I carried around with me following the drafting of Schremp. It’s collected considerable dust since then and obviously is no longer a good comparable. In fairness to Schremp we don’t know if his numbers in the NHL would be comparable. Though I didn’t see Whitney those first two seasons, I suspected his performance was not great. In the 94/95 season he put up the points I mentioned but was also tied for second worst +/- among forwards on the team, -7 with the overal GD being -32.

  22. mc79hockey says:

    The biggest issue that I have is that for the first time in his NHL life, he didn’t look out of place this year. That IMO is what should matter, how does he fit playing in the NHL? IMO he was far more effective than in previous seasons. After he was sent back down it all went south. A LOT of players can put up gaudy numbers in the AHL but can’t do a damned thing at the NHL level.

    Hate to say it BBO but you’re looking at the numbers, not what happened on the ice. Sure, he got his assists, but he was consistently behind the play and resorted to cheating in the defensive zone.

    As for putting up gaudy numbers in the AHL but not the NHL…very few guys put up numbers without being able to do it in the AHL. Not sure why Schremp would be any different.

  23. digger says:

    Whenever the subject of Schremp comparables comes up, one name that always comes up in my mind (but seemingly in nobody else’s mind) is the early career of Yanic Perreault.

    Everyone thinks of Perreault as the great faceoff guy who’s a borderline liability in nearly every other facet of the game, but once upon a time in the early 90′s he was propped up by the Toronto media hype machine as a top flight offensive prospect who just couldn’t catch a break with the Leafs organization.

    He had the gaudy offensive #’s in junior as a 19 yr old (87 goals in 67 games), had below average size (5’11″, 185 lbs), was a poor skater who had a great one timer from the half boards and even played the same spot on the PP as Schremp does. It took him 4 full minor pro seasons (3 AHL/1 IHL) before he made the NHL full time, but since then he managed to scrape together a respectable NHL career of 859 games and counting, including 6 seasons of 20+ goals.

    IMO this is the top end of Schremp’s potential at this point, unless he somehow finds a magic lamp and a benevolent genie.

    Hopefully “learn how to skate like a pro” isn’t Schremp’s 4th wish.

  24. mc79hockey says:

    For those interested, here’s the list of NHL forwards who played 10 games or fewer up to age 22 since the dawn of the Original 21. If you go by that, my idea that the Oilers just cut him probably makes a lot of sense.

  25. Schitzo says:

    Some interesting names on that list, Tyler. Of course, for every Boyes or Pominville or Hull (!) there’s a hundred who never amounted to anything.

  26. Bank Shot says:

    I still don’t see alot of difference between Schremp and a guy like Mike Ribeiro.

    If given the opportunity, I could see Schremp carve out a niche somewhere in the NHL.

    Its a little bit of a shame that the Oilers let his value degrade to this point.

    Had they their own AHL team and competent management of it post lockout, perhaps some of the kids that turned pro in the couple of years after the lockout might have turned out a little better.

  27. George B says:

    Does anyone else agree that the moment he had the couple decent games with the big club, they should have jettisoned him for the best return?

  28. mc79hockey says:

    Some interesting names on that list, Tyler. Of course, for every Boyes or Pominville or Hull (!) there’s a hundred who never amounted to anything.

    Literally. It’s a pretty blunt tool though. Is Hull, who scored 50 goals in 67 games in the AHL at age 22 really comparable to Schremp? Probably worth noting as well that Pominville and probably only on the list because of the lockout; if there’d been hockey, they’d have likely played too many NHL games.

  29. Bruce says:

    Good stuff, MC. There is the very occasional semi-precious gem on that list, the best comparable to Schremp’s situation (first rounder, tons o’ hype) who actually turned out being Brad Boyes. But there’s a whole bunch of guys named Mike Richard — NOT to be confused with Mike Richards!

    I agree with you in the “saw him bad” analysis. I actually attended Schremp’s first, and best, game where he got two assists and played pretty well, but it was high event hockey at both ends to say the least. His last two games of the four-game tryout were brutal, the whole team got overwhelmed in San Jose (and won anyway), but the subsequent game against Florida where most of team played pretty well but couldn’t buy a goal, Schremp generated nothing and had a couple of defensive lapses and just looked, well, out of his league. And like that, poof, he was gone.

    I argued at the time that because of his decent stats they should have kept him around for another game or three. I expressed concern that he might be very dispirited on his demotion after a promising start which seems to have borne out.

    As for his potential spot in a Top 6 role, that would seem to be his niche. He’s not the kind of guy one sees reconstructing his role in the manner of Marty Sakic or Marc-Antoine Carbonneau, let’s put it that way.

  30. Bryanbryoil says:

    The other thing to remember is that a lot of players that have had gaudy AHL stats were on very good or high scoring AHL teams. Schremp has had the benefit of neither the last 2 seasons. This season regardless of any intangibles has been a tough season for him, but as I’ve said before if we’re going strictly off of AHL numbers we should keep Potulny and throw out the rest.

    It doesn’t work that way, there are some good players on the Falcons, just not enough of them to have a good team.

    What did Hemsky do in the final 20 games of ’06-07? In my most recent blog post, I’ve compared the Falcons season to the last 20 after Smyth was dealt. It hasn’t been pretty.

  31. Bryanbryoil says:

    Bruce IMO while he didn’t do anything in the Florida game he wasn’t too bad compared to others on the ice (what I recall anyway). The SJ game was the game that really showed his lack of speed, however as a supposedly “fast” team, the whole team looked like crap in that game.

    I agree 100% about the fact that he should’ve been given more rope, if he ended up hanging himself then he has no one to blame but himself, the fact that he produced his first few games and was then ditched after IMO a couple of o.k. games had to hit him below the belt.

    IMO there is a spot for him somewhere on an NHL team. NYI IMO would be a good fit.

  32. quain says:

    Just in case you’re like me, and have no idea who 98% of past players are, here’s Tyler’s list filtered down to players who went on to play 100+ games during Age 23-24 (the “successes”), with PPG included for those games:

    Player / PPG
    Brett Hull / 1.03
    Petr Sykora / 0.98
    Paul MacLean / 0.89
    Eddy Beers / 0.89
    Jason Pominville / 0.71
    Brad Boyes / 0.71
    Kevin Todd / 0.64
    Marek Svatos / 0.63
    Scott Bjugstad / 0.60
    Mark Pederson / 0.56
    Ted Donato / 0.54
    Tomas Plekanec / 0.51
    Brian Holzinger / 0.51
    Dave Silk / 0.50
    Brian Savage / 0.46
    Shane Willis / 0.44
    Ville Nieminen / 0.42
    Eric Lacroix / 0.41
    Rob Zamuner / 0.38
    Doug Brown / 0.38
    Paul Gaustad / 0.35
    Mark Freer / 0.33
    David Clarkson / 0.33
    Bill Berg / 0.30
    Jason Chimera / 0.28
    Darby Hendrickson / 0.27
    Chris Thorburn / 0.21
    Denis Hamel / 0.19
    Antti Aalto / 0.19
    Dan LaCouture / 0.18

    Pominville, Boyes, and Plekanec were during the lock-out so you can probably discard them.

  33. mc79hockey says:

    The other thing to remember is that a lot of players that have had gaudy AHL stats were on very good or high scoring AHL teams. Schremp has had the benefit of neither the last 2 seasons. This season regardless of any intangibles has been a tough season for him, but as I’ve said before if we’re going strictly off of AHL numbers we should keep Potulny and throw out the rest.

    Nobody’s saying go strictly off AHL numbers – age matters too – but at some point you have to wonder what comes first: do guys put up numbers because they play on high scoring AHL teams or do they play on high scoring AHL teams because they put up numbers? I suspect that it’s largely the latter, particularly for the difference makers, which Schremp supposedly was.

    What did Hemsky do in the final 20 games of ’06-07?

    Hemsky, who has been an NHLer since the age of 19, unlike Rob Schremp, scored 4 goals in the 10 games that he played. If he was on a shitty AHL team, I have no doubt that he would be lighting it up. Schremp isn’t a difference maker in the AHL. It’s crazy to think that he’ll be one in the NHL.

    IMO there is a spot for him somewhere on an NHL team. NYI IMO would be a good fit.

    They, or a similarly shitty team, are probably his best bet.

  34. Coach pb9617 says:

    There should be a moratorium on Rob Schremp posts for at least two years. The guy stinks, just cut him or trade him and let people with some upside get the development time.

    I’m sure he’ll catch on with the Wild or the Devils and have a wonderful career as a 10 goal a year guy that can play the power play. Fine. Let him go – for all of our sakes.

  35. Jonathan Willis says:

    They, or a similarly shitty team, are probably his best bet.

    I’m not quite as down on Schremp as the rest of people seem to be, but that’s an accurate statement by Tyler. Schremp probably fits in on a team that needs a powerplay specialist that they can shelter at even-strength; picture Ales Kotalik, but smaller.

    On the other hand, a team like Columbus might be a decent fit if Hitchcock decided having a powerplay (currently ranked 30th in the NHL) was worth sheltering the kid.

  36. Jonathan Willis says:

    As for Schremp’s 4-game NHL stint, aren’t we revising history a little bit? By my count he had one good game, one OK game, and two crappy games (despite what the pretty point totals say).

    But his good game was quite good.

  37. Tyler says:

    On the other hand, a team like Columbus might be a decent fit if Hitchcock decided having a powerplay (currently ranked 30th in the NHL) was worth sheltering the kid.

    I’m not quite sure where this idea that Rob Schremp is a PP wizard in professional hockey came from. Has he had some extraordinary PP success of which I’m unaware that might translate to the NHL?

  38. Master Lok says:

    I’m curious what Marty Reasoner’s Red Line Report read – and if he could be a Schremp comparison. I remember Reasoner had difficulties fitting in the MacT lineup and didn’t listen very well, until he passed through waivers and realized that NO ONE wanted him.

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