ISS PLAYER PROFILE
By: John Humphrey
Born:July 1, 1986
Center Robbie Schremp’s sophomore season in the Ontario Hockey League started and ended under somewhat controversial circumstances. Between the start of his OHL season and its finish, however, he showed that he is a world class junior hockey player who seems destined to be a professional hockey star one day.
After being the first pick overall in the 2002 OHL Priority Selection, Schremp, a 5’11.5, 197-pound native of Fulton, New York, led the Mississauga Ice Dogs and all rookie candidates in scoring en route to being named the OHL’s Rookie of the Year.
At the start of the 2003-2004 season, Schremp, we believe on the advice of his agent, requested a trade out of Mississauga and was subsequently moved to the London Knights in exchange for defenseman Kyle Quincey, a Detroit draftee, rugged left-winger Chris Bain and two second round draft choices.
After moving to the powerhouse Knights, Schremp had to adapt from his free-wheeling style of play to the more defensive system employed by London head coach Dale Hunter. He was one of the Knights’ go-to guys on the power play and sometimes killed penalties. Despite the fact that his ice time was cut down by about five minutes a game due to London’s talent-laden lineup, Schremp still managed to rack up 28 goals and 41 assists, along with 14 penalty minutes, in 60 games in London this season. He had 2 goals and 4 assists in 3 games in Mississauga before the trade.
Easily the highlight of his second OHL season was Schremp’s participation in the CHL Top Prospects Game in London in January. Playing under the intense scrutiny of a sold-out hometown crowd at the John Labatt Centre, not to mention the multitude of NHL scouts and general managers in attendance, Schremp responded with a number of eye-opening offensive moves and was named Team Orr’s most valuable player for his efforts.
Schremp notched 7 goals and 6 assists in the Knights’ 15-game playoff run this spring, but he saw only limited action in game seven of the Western Conference finals against the Guelph Storm, who won the game and series in something of an upset. The decision to bench Schremp, in our view, was made more out of a desire by Dale Hunter to employ more defensive-minded players than it was to a would-be sub par performance by Schremp.
As a scouting organization, we are very high on Robbie Schremp. We see him as a dangerous offensive weapon whenever he is on the ice, either by scoring himself or setting up a teammate. He has electrifying moves and is a pinpoint-passing centre that can also play either wing. He is certainly one of the top three offensively gifted players available for the 2004 NHL Entry Draft. While he may need to work on the defensive side of his game and his play away from the puck, he has made improvements in both areas since his trade to London. And it is interesting to note that Schremp scored more goals in the playoffs on the road than he did at the John Labatt Centre. The bottom line is that he has the ability to bust open a game whether he is playing on the road or at home. That quality, in our view, adds considerably to Schremp’s great appeal as a professional hockey prospect.
Despite all the bad press the kid has endured ISS still has him rated No. 5 overall. At the start of the year, Schremp was ranked third overall, and although we recognize the fact he has slipped to fifth overall, all the bad press, trade demands, questionable on-ice attitude, etc had very little effect on his draft status with ISS. According to ISS Director of Scouting, Dennis MacInnis, “We feel strongly that this situation was a classic case of a 17-year-old teenager receiving bad advice from the professional people that are supposed to look after his best interests.”
As for the questionable attitude, we simply don’t buy into that. When talking to teammates and former teammates, Schremp is well liked. As a scouting firm we recognize him as a marvelous offensive talent who can take control of a game, an impact player that makes his linemates better players.
Like most offensively gifted players Schremp’s age, his overall game has room for development. He will never be known for his defensive play, however NHL clubs would be more than willing to live with these shortcomings if he can develop his leadership skills, learn to play with more grit and be tougher in the high traffic zones.