Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Sugartits!

If one thing can be unquestionably said about Rob Schremp, he's one hell of an interesting character. Scouts said he had the talent to go top 3 in his draft year, but because of "attitude" problems, he plummeted all the way to 25th, at which point the Oilers rolled the dice on him. Contrary to what scouts want us to believe, it looks like he very well will find a niche in the NHL, but it's not going to be as a #1 line C, and he's not going to be a lesser player because of his attitude or a waste of natural talent.

Rather, it's far more simple, and boils down mediocre skating and a shot that is more Moreau than Kovalchuk. He's working hard though, and looks like a guy who one way or another will have an NHL paycheck in the near future.

And, reading the tea leaves, I'm inclined to believe that that paycheck will be courteous of Mr. Daryl Katz. For the last few years, the top item at the list of "things you can do to impress the organization" has been to spend a few weeks in California with Chad Moreau. As Guy Flaming reported a few days ago, Sugartits has been there every single day since May 1st. That's not it though. He's received some pretty nice praise from both Craig MacTavish and Kelly Buchberger. I think the team believes in the kid, and that it's now or never for him.

Now, to steal something from LT, and ignoring the noise from his seasons in the OHL, lets take a look at his two seasons in the AHL and his Desjardin's numbers from them...

20 year old:
69-17-53
69-8-24

21 year old:
78-23-76
78-10-34

A few things jump out at me when I look at the numbers. First of all, for all the talk we've heard about his hands and his "NHL caliber shot," his goal scoring numbers have left a lot to desire, to put it lightly. Secondly, he's a year off of Vic's "PPG @ 20" line in the sand.... but that's still only a year. How much will him finally taking his off ice training seriously impact that? Tough to say, but I think the fact that he was only a year late, and did manage to find it before starting to really focus on his off-ice training does give reason to be optimistic.

It's not quite so simple though. The Oilers currently have 12 forwards signed to one-way deals, 8 defense signed to one-way deals, 2 goaltenders signed to one one-way deals, and one goaltender who would have to clear waivers to end up in the AHL. For those of you who aren't so great at math, that's 23 contracts. The only two guys who wouldn't have to clear waivers or be paid like an NHL'er to play in the AHL? Gagner and Cogliano. Something tells me they're not going anywhere. So lets assume the Oilers try to keep JDD here... what are their options?

This is Mathieu Roy, seeing stars and realizing how little he's missing the NHL by*. The Oilers currently have him on a one-way contract that will pay him $500,000. I think that, regardless of what he does during camp, Roy will either end up in Springfield, be claimed on waivers by another team, or dealt for a late round draft pick. The signing of Strudwick truly made Roy redundant, and I see no reason for him to remain on the team, even though he is a character guy and he is a decent option as the 7th D.

Still though, that frees up a 13th forward spot for the Oilers. Just one spot, and the guys fighting for it include Potulny, Brule, Reddox, Truhkno, JFJ among others. It's extremely possible that one of these guys shine even more than Schremp, and it's also possible that Schremp would be better suited to tear up the AHL then sit in the press box in Edmonton.

I don't think that's the plan though. The Oilers have two centers who they look at very, very, similarly in my mind. Kyle Brodziak and Marc Pouliot. Both are 2003 drafts, with Brodziak being an overager in the draft. I firmly believe that whichever one of them losses the "Pisani" center spot will find themselves playing in a different city come October, and the Oilers will hit the ice with:

Cole - Horcoff - Hemsky
Nilsson - Gagner - Cogliano
Penner - Pouliot - Pisani
Moreau - Schremp - Stortini
Potulny

Everyone will have a conniption when Schremp isn't paired with pure skill, but the fact of the matter is that he'll be brought along slowly, see time in the pressbox, and have responsible wingers on either side of him that'll make up for his lack of grit and defense, along with two of the hardest workers on the squad.

*Parts of this line may have been stolen from Supermassive, a regular at HFBoards ;)

10 comments:

MikeP said...

Hemsky spent what, good chunks of two seasons in a row on Moreau's wing? I don't think he's complaining. Won't do Rob Schremp any harm either, and he'd be both an idiot and an ass to complain - I don't think he's either.

Can Moreau stay healthy enough though? He thinks so.

Maybe we'll get to see if youth + enthusiasm + skill can keep up with age + determination + some more determination when Moreau breaks his other leg and skates up the ice towing Schremp shortly before using him to pummel Dion Phaneuf.

Jonathan said...

Scouts said he had the talent to go top 3 in his draft year, but because of "attitude" problems, he plummeted all the way to 25th, at which point the Oilers rolled the dice on him.

I think it had more to do with his stagnation in his draft year (virtually identical stats to the season before) then in his attitude.

doritogrande said...

Schremp's a winger now. He'll have no impact on the playing time of Brodziak and Pouliot.

Zack Stortini's days however, may be numbered. Unill Ethan Moreau gets injured that is.

Also, JDD has a one-way contract, making three goalies on NHL-only contracts.

PDO said...

Hemsky spent what, good chunks of two seasons in a row on Moreau's wing? I don't think he's complaining. Won't do Rob Schremp any harm either, and he'd be both an idiot and an ass to complain - I don't think he's either.

That was in regards to the Schremp army, not Schremp himself. I think it'd do him a world of good, assuming, of course, Moreau played more than 15 games before shattering his hip as he falls down to block a shot.

I think it had more to do with his stagnation in his draft year (virtually identical stats to the season before) then in his attitude.

Most years the draft leaves me with one or two memories. '03 was Pierre making an ass out of himself over Nilsson and Parise. '05 was Bobby Mac going on and on about Cogliano and what a mistake the Leafs made. '04 though... that was all about Schremp having the skill to be a top 3, but everyone and their dog being scared of his "attitude."

Schremp's a winger now. He'll have no impact on the playing time of Brodziak and Pouliot.

Was he exclusively a winger? Most centers on this team tend to break in as wingers anyway... Horcoff, Stoll, Gagner and Cogliano in recent memory have all spent significant time on the wing.

Also, JDD has a one-way contract, making three goalies on NHL-only contracts.

In the 2nd year. Is his first year not a two-way?

Oilman said...

JFJ has a first year 2-way, JDD has both years 1-way

PDO said...

JFJ has a first year 2-way, JDD has both years 1-way.

Fucking goalies, always getting special treatment :-)

Oilman said...

it is how it is:o)

Jonathan said...

'04 though... that was all about Schremp having the skill to be a top 3, but everyone and their dog being scared of his "attitude."


Well, all the commentators anyway. Presumably, some of them attributed his stagnation to a lack of work ethic.

I'm sure the professional scouts were basing their judgement more on what they saw on the ice that year than what they heard about off of it.

PDO said...

I'm sure the professional scouts were basing their judgement more on what they saw on the ice that year than what they heard about off of it.

I'm not so sure I can agree with that ; the game is, at least, 50% mental. We've heard first hand that until 2 days prior to the draft, the Oilers had Voracek over Gagner. Clearly, something that happened off of the ice impacted that... why couldn't the same happen with a hot shot kid who wasn't going to ever "get it?"

At the very least, it had to have some sort of impact on his draft position. Don't forget that this year was the first time we've ever really heard anything positive about Schremp's attitude from the organization.

MikeP said...

"That was in regards to the Schremp army, not Schremp himself. I think it'd do him a world of good, assuming, of course, Moreau played more than 15 games before shattering his hip as he falls down to block a shot."

Fair enough; you're right, what's left of Schremp army (can't be more than a platoon now) would likely complain bitterly. Of course, Hemsky boosters complained bitterly about his treatment his first couple of years. I think MacT's borne out correct there; Schremp boosters would do well to look at Hemsky before they bitch about how MacT plays rooks.