Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Pair of Oilers 1st Round Picks Ready to Prove Their Worth

Marc Antoine Pouliot (left) and Rob Schremp (right) both had significant roles on the Oilers AHL affiliate the Springfield Falcons last year. Pouliot played on the top 2 lines at even strength and also saw PP as well as PK time, while Rob Schremp was also a top 2 line player at even strength and for the most part was a fixture on the top PP unit on the right side half boards. Pouliot used his combination of size and skill to overwhelm his opponents, while Schremp used superb puck skills, and an uncanny ability to quarter back a PP to do his damage.

Pouliot was selected 22nd overall in the incredibly deep 2003 NHL entry draft, while Schremp was selected 25th overall the following year. Both will be trying to climb the depth charts this year and go from AHL stars, to full time NHL players. Pouliot has a definite advantage in terms of size, strength, and NHL experience, while Schremp has more offensive skill and a higher upside.

Both went to Europe this summer to play in a 7 game tournament for a team billed as the "London Knights" despite the fact that there was a mix of ECHL, AHL, and NHL players on the roster. Another player that was at the tournament was none other than the Oilers young star forward Sam Gagner.

This season Pouliot and Schremp could very well "lean on each other" for support as well as possibly rekindling their chemistry together from the AHL last year on a line in the big show. Pouliot will be in a position where he has a job to lose. The Oilers decided not to re-up one of Craig Mactavish's personal favorites in Marty Reasoner, this leaves Pouliot and the 4th line center by default unless he gets beaten out by one of Schremp, Brule, or Potulny.

Schremp on the other hand has to show up at camp and show the ability to create more offense than he gives up, as well as prove to be able to transfer his PP prowess from the AHL to the best league in the world. The fact that he was a top 5 PP points contributor at the AHL level while being on a team that was roughly middle of the pack in PP efficiency shows the potential that he has in that department.

Each brings a different set of skills, and play different roles, however both are linked in the fact that people are growing weary of waiting for them to prove that they aren't the next 1st round busts in a lengthy list of Oilers 1st round busts that dates back to the 90's. It is my opinion that both will prove their worth this season, and if they don't make their mark with the Oilers, they will with another NHL team.


OilRick said...

I think Robbie will make it this year. He will probably only play occasionally or watch from the press box, but i think he will get his chance at the show. Hopefully MacT will give him a decent chance, not just five minutes.
Good to see you start a blog Bryan! I look forward to reading it. Best of luck to you!

Bryanbryoil said...

Thanks oilrick. I just hope that the kid gets in some significant minutes this season (over the season, as I doubt that he'll get big minutes in any particular games, at least to start).