Sometime in the next month or so, Rob Schremp’s time as an Edmonton Oiler is likely to come to an end. I have no particular feeling about that – while I’ve never really been a fan of the guy, I like the Oilers, so if he turned into Brett Hull, that would have been cool with me. Like a lot of the statzis, I’ve had feelings about the hype surrounding the guy that have ranged from bemusement to outright irritation (I suspect that the late MacT shared those feelings). When that day comes to pass, there’s going to be a healthy chunk of the fanbase and the media who will blame the organization for Schremp’s failure to be well on his way to 600 goals at this point in his career.
I’ve been working on stripping the junior sites to put together a database lately and have come across something interesting about Rob Schremp’s draft year – he had an utterly bizarre mix of ES/PP scoring in his draft year. Schremp scored 30-45-75 in 63 games in his draft year, split between Mississauga and London.
I’m missing one of his points but, of the 74 I was able to track down, Schremp scored 14-6-7-27 at ES and 15-13-18-46 on the PP. That’s an unusual split that you won’t see in the NHL – you don’t find any useful forwards scoring 63% of their points on the PP in the NHL.
The sites for the junior leagues are even worse than the NHL’s site, hard as that may be to believe, in that they don’t make the splits available – if you’re interested, you have to strip the site and calculate it. I’ve got the 1996-97 WHL splits available and the ES numbers for the guys who were drafted (considering only guys eligible for the first time in 1997) are pretty interesting. (GP-G-A1-A2-P). Here’s the list
(2) Patrick Marleau – 71-35-23-6-64
(25) Brenden Morrow – 71-22-13-20-55
(19) Stefan Cherneski – 56-23-14-12-49
(187) Chad Hinz – 72-19-21-9-49
(130) Kyle Calder 72-17-19-10-46
(246) Jay Henderson 66-17-12-5-34
(39) Jeremy Reich 62-13-10-11-34
(102) Quentin Laing 63-10-14-8-32
(121) Jason Chimera – 71-13-12-6-31
(59) Jarrett Smith – 67-15-8-7-30
(223) Dustin Paul – 70-16-9-1-26
(167) Jeremy Rondeau – 70-11-7-8-26
(166) Kris Knoblauch 67-9-10-6-25
(77) Steve Gainey 60-9-12-3-24
(60) Derek Schutz 61-11-9-3-23
(229) Marek Ivan 69-13-3-6-22
(139) Bobby Leavins 59-5-4-2-11
(20) Mike Brown – 70-3-4-3-10
(53) Graham Belak 53-3-3-2-8
(161) Todd Fedoruk 31-1-4-1-6
(64) Kyle Freadrich 62-1-3-0-4
While the 1996-97 WHL was a more offensive league than the 2003-04 OHL, assuming a similar scoring distribution amongst draft eligible players, Rob Schremp’s ES scoring was likely nothing special – call it top ten or so. What made him seem so special, as far as the numbers go, were the numbers that he posted on the PP.
The list above is kind of impressive to me in that it seems to have guys broadly in the order that their NHL careers would indicate. Cherneski broke his knee cap at 20 and never recovered, so it’s not really fair to criticize this way of looking at things as a result of that and Chad Hinz was listed at 5’10″ and (presumably) actually stood a lot shorter than that.
The only NHLers of note under the 40 point mark are Jason Chimera and Todd Fedoruk. Fedoruk is in the NHL for reasons other than his socring. Chimera apperars to be a fringy NHLer by this analysis (and he didn’t really secure a spot for time later) and also looks to have spent much of the season getting third line minutes in Medicine Hat, which will hurt the numbers.
I’d have to do this for a number of years and leagues to get a better sense of things but, on a preliminary basis, it seems like a reasonable way to approach the draft. Intuitively, this makes sense to me. There are ninety jobs for forwards on the first unit of an NHL PP. Most of those guys, by definition, will not be positive difference makers on the PP. Therefore, for the vast majority of NHL players, their PP ability is almost irrelevant as to whether or not you employ them. Ethan Moreau’s PP skills should matter to the Oilers about as much as the law firm that employs me cares if I can juggle.
What matters, therefore, is whether a player can compete at ES. I’ll have to do some more years and leagues of this but that seems reasonable enough to me, just as it seems overwhelmingly likely that Rob Schremp did not post particularly impressive ES numbers compared to other draft eligible players in his year. If he didn’t – and if his PP skills are not particularly relevant – then maybe it isn’t so surprising, or the fault of the Oilers, that he’s likely to be wearing the colours of some other team this year.