Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The AHL, a Fate Worse than Death?

Sometimes it seems that way when you watch a player that has NHL aspirations that has them shot down and they are sent down to the top bus riding hockey league in North America.

Rob Schremp is currently the latest member of the list. A list that has included Mathieu Roy (on multiple occasions), Allan Rourke, Marc Pouliot (on multiple occasions), and Robert Nilsson in the last 2 years of Falcons hockey.

It's the same routine from each player, they don't seem to have their heart in the game. In the case of Rourke, he took off to Europe after last season. Pouliot eventually got his heart into the game and finished his 3rd year pro as an Oiler. Nilsson went into the crapper, was a HS at the AHL level, and then upon his return to the NHL went on to play his best hockey of his young NHL career.

Mathieu Roy continues to be a 'tweener, a suitable 7th NHL d-man, or an AHL veteran in the top 4. Like Rourke, he feels the need to play a more offensive game at the AHL level. As a result, both players went from potential impact level AHL players to ineffective AHL players.

Rob Schremp has a choice to make, he can be like Pouliot and suck it up and get back at it like a trooper, he could be like Nilsson and sulk until/if his name gets called again, or he can go the way of Roy and Rourke.

Frustration is a part of everyday life for everyone. Unable to do what you want, make what you want, tell people where to go, and feel how you want to. Some things frustrate us more so than others, and when you have a long history of something or someone upsetting you, it just builds up to a point where something has to give.

It seems as if Robbie is at that point. However he's nearly 1/2 way through the season and he should finish it the way that he started it in Springfield, STRONG. Even if he parts ways with the Oilers at the end of the season, he opens up more doors by showing what he can do than by playing half heartedly. Next year he will be at the negotiating table again, and if he is still our property I don't see why he would accept anything less than a 1-way deal. Pouliot, Winchester, Roy, Stortini, they've all gotten 1 way deals in recent years.

If Schremp is disgruntled he can tell the team to trade him or lose his services if he decides to play in Europe. Soon Schremp will have leverage on his side. Until then he needs to bear down and make a case for himself to be an Oiler this year and potentially in the future.

He isn't the first player to be hugely disappointed by being sent down when they felt that they did enough to stay at the NHL level, and he won't be the last. However a call to his buddy Pouliot could help him through this tough time in his career.


Jonathan said...

That's a good piece, and one I didn't expect you to write, BBO.

Ultimately, it's up to the player to prove the organization wrong.

Bryanbryoil said...

It is Jonathan, as much as I root for Robbie, it pains me to see him not giving it his all. I truly believe that he has some exceptional talent, but he needs to play like how he was at the start of the year and less like he is now.

He probably doesn't remain with this team as long as MacT is the head honcho here, but he shouldn't sell his future short. He's almost at the finish line of his 1st pro contract. At that point he can start to have some power on his side.

If he feels that he's been mismanaged he can request a trade, or simply not sign with the Oilers.

Jonathan said...


Honestly, I wonder if another organization isn't the answer. I know that we generally disagree on MacTavish as a coach, but I do believe that the Oilers have so many players with similar skillsets that an organization with fewer talented prospects (the Islanders or Leafs maybe) would be in greater need of Schremp's skills, and would give him a better opportunity. He's had some bad luck too; that knee injury couldn't have come at a worse time, especially for a player without top-end skating to begin with.

I remain convinced that he can handle second-line work and powerplay time in the right situation.

oilerdago said...

Like your insight BBO. As much as I've wanted Schremp to succeed and be an Oiler, I just don't see it given the circumstances.

While I believe it's more circumstances (roster make up) and his play the previous 2 seasons it really does not matter.

Like you said, the best thing for him to do is finish strong and either get himself in position to be traded by the deadline or better, force an RFA offer-sheet.

Of course, it'd be more interesting if he re-signed because I'm convinced if the Oilers tried to send him down next year someone (hello Atlanta, NYI or Tampa) would claim him going down - they've got nothing to lose.

Bryanbryoil said...

Jonathan and Oilerdago-It does seem like for whatever reason(s) he will not get the opportunity that others have gotten here.

I would like to see us sign him to a one way deal and see what another offseason of strength and skating training could do for him. However if he is moved before then, it would probably be a great relief to him unless he were kept in the minors.

He could play in a top 6 role in this league, there are teams that are worse off than we are, and IMO he could play here over a few players and we wouldn't miss much of a beat in a worst case scenario.

Schremp's key to staying in our organization would be the continued demise of Nilsson. That or the coach looking to play a more offensive style of hockey.

Or lastly a coaching change to a coach that likes to play an offensive style. Other than those scenarios, his chances are slim and none, and slim is getting out of his chair to walk out the door after he pays his bar tab.