Rob Schremp comes to town

Tonight for the first time I get to watch Robbie Schremp play a home regular season game for the Edmonton Oilers.

It's been a long road; LMHF#2 first pointed the guy out to me after a goal he scored in the Top Prospects game a few years back. Watching what this guy could do with the puck was amazing; and the ease with which he scored was utterly impressive. We both knew at the time that this team lacked natural goalscorers; and after watching Rob for quite a while we both agreed that this was a player we needed to draft.

At the time; that wasn't a possibility as he was ranked far too highly in the draft to be around when we picked. By the time the draft had come around; we all know that his stock had dropped for different reasons depending on who you asked; and we had a chance to grab him in the draft suddenly. And we picked.......Devan Dubnyk...which led to near-panic in terms of missing this opportunity. Somehow; despite Calgary drafting directly in front of us before our next pick, Schremp fell to us again and we took a chance on the big scorer from the London Knights.

I'd said going in that I'd be happy if we somehow got Schremp and Danny Syvret. We did indeed. I was happy. Danny has been sent along the road now and is tearing up the AHL this year. It may take him longer than scouts thought, but I'm still pretty sure he'll play a decent number of games in the NHL. A guy named Corey Perry could have been ours too around that time; but he was "one of those junior guys who'll never make the World Junior team and never be any good in the NHL"...RIGHT...

I've watched Rob as much as possible when he's been in town. The first year he showed up and almost made the team; he was a picture of sheer confidence and hockey talent. Had he made the team that year I'm quite certain he would be an impact player by now. For a guy whose biggest concern is supposedly skating, the organization has spent an incredibly limited amount of time in-season working on this aspect of his game. They have those resources and have that luxury; they have for the past years as well. I think its worth refining our talent in specialized ways. Alex Mikhnov would still be here and productive for the NHL squad if he'd been subjected to even a half-year of organized power skating classes; I'm still convinced of that.

But he didn't make the team and he went back to London and tore it up. After that however; in the time I've seen him since, he's been just as skilled but just not the same. Its always looked to me like a confidence and mental game issue. These are things that can be overcome with dedicated work; not just from Rob but from the team. I'm still not sure the right moves have been made in this regard. He's "adjusted to the pro game" but isn't scoring goals. There may be many reasons for this; but I don't think we've helped refine his high-end talents enough; and those are the most important ones.

Rarely has there been a guy who's had so much attention before any kind of NHL experience; I think its because he was the first truly talented scorer we'd seen in a while and many people didn't know what to make of him. I'm sure there will always be controversy no matter what Rob does with himself and his career for Oilers fans, but hopefully he rips it up and makes an NHL name for himself. We need some help and he could indeed be it.

I've always been one of the biggest fans of Rob; and truly believe that a guy this talented could be something truly special regardless of what "development curve" types have to say. We'll probably see this year whether that will be with the Oilers or not.

Good luck Rob! I'll be cheering for you.

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