My very first post on this blog was one that took a lot of work, since I wanted to start off with a bang. Unfortunately, I wasn't thinking very clearly, because if I had been, it would have occured to me that almost nobody would end up reading it, given that blogs generally don't attract a massive audience in their first day of existence.
I took Rob Schremp's career statistics and compared his progression with that of twelve other players matching the following criteria:
1) Must have been highly regarded in their draft year (11 of 12 players were selected between 4th and 36th overall in their draft year, and the exception, Marc Savard, went 91st overall).
2) Must have played junior hockey in the OHL.
3) Must have had a prolonged (at least 1 full season) AHL/IHL apprenticeship, as Schremp has.
The list included notable NHL'ers, guys who had an extended audition, and other guys who only got a cup of coffee. Two players were extremely comparable: Jason Dawe and Jarrod Skalde. The good news: both players had their break-out seasons in their fifth post-draft season, the season that Rob Schremp is entering right now. The bad news is that both ultimately ended up largely as busts at the NHL level.
Still, I do have some hope for Rob Schremp. He's been training in California for the last three months straight, showing beyond any kind of reasonable doubt that motivation is not an issue for this guy.
I really picture him in the mold of Jason Dawe. He plays wing, like Dawe did, and he has incredible offensive instincts (nobody has the kind of year he did his final season in London without crazy skills; with or without massive ice-time), like Dawe. He's made the powerplay run every level he's played at, whatever his other failings are. I've never been a booster of Schremp; later in that first post I suggest a 2nd/3rd round pick would be a good return for him. Lowe, however, seems determined to keep Schremp around, and although it's difficult to find a place for him on the team, he has done everything he can at the minor league level, and it's time to see what he looks like in an NHL uniform.
Dawe erupted at the same age as Schremp, posting 25 goals and 50 points for the 1995-96 Buffalo Sabres. He disappeared as quickly, winning the Calder Cup as an AHL scorer four years later and finishing his career in the ECHL five years after that. He now runs a hockey school, along with some other ex-NHL'ers (Mike Wilson and Rob Tallas are both instructors).
Schremp needs to make a mark this season, forcing his way either into the Oilers lineup or to a different NHL team. From everything that I've read, he seems determined to do so.