Sail On, Syracuse Crunch

Word this morning that Robbie Schremp is off to Sweden to continue his hockey career. Although he’s been gone a long time from the Oiler scene, it seems this transaction (out of the NHL) offers some closure.

Rob Schremp has long been a divisive figure in Oilers lore, with millions of words on the Al Gore devoted to defending or crushing him.

I well remember the day he was drafted. My preference was for the Oilers to take him with their 14th overall selection, but they chose Devan Dubnyk instead. When Schremp was available at #25, I posted in the HF chat room that something like “LUCKY TO GET HIM HERE!”

The problem we had projecting Schremp and all CHL prospects stills exists: we don’t have their time on ice totals. So, when Schremp went supernova spring 2006 and posted playoff numbers (19, 10-37-47) that looked ridiculous it was a time for celebration.

When he turned pro, Schremp found the going tough and the pro coaching identified some hitches. The quotes were pretty damning:

  • 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.”

I think it comes down skating. Schremp visited Liane Davis a few times and Davis has helped a lot of players. However, he always fell back into the wide track and never did establish himself in the NHL. You could argue bad luck (his job was stolen by Michael Grabner in NYC and the Thrashers moved, robbing Schremp of a chance to work with a wonderful coach who may have helped him in Craig Ramsay) and you can certainly argue bad timing.

I think the Schremp draft, combined with the Pouliot draft and the Niinimaki draft, cost a few people their jobs and setback the Oilers yet again. Not getting a useful NHL center despite choosing them in the first rounds in 2002, 2003 and 2004 meant the team didn’t have an answer when the veterans left via free agency.

Here’s hoping Schremp finds success in Sweden and makes his way back to the NHL. The book on him in regard to Edmonton’s selecting him has closed. Rob Schremp did not cover the bet.

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