By all accounts Rob Schremp has had an impressive beginning to training camp. The question on the mind of Oilers management has to be:
Is Schremp enough of an upgrade to be worth keeping over any of the 14 forwards on one-way deals?
- seems like he can help the powerplay
- he may develop into a "better" player down the line if he plays in the NHL this season
- to make the team he'd have to be signed, it would be one draft re-entry worry avoided
- defense is his reported question mark (though he's supposedly not been near as bad in this regard as expected), EDM has reliable options already in the lineup and may not have time to develop him this year if they are competing for the Cup if he's not ready
- playing him this year would make him a UFA at age 26, while sending him back to junior would see him a RFA until 27
Additionally, it's worth asking whether he can help the PP more than, say, Pouliot would. Schremp had 23G,23A on the PP for London last year, on a team that scored 310 goals of which 97 were on the PP. By comparison Pouliot scored 22 PP goals (I can't find PP assists on the Q's stats site, or Pouliots PPA numbers anywhere. Schremp has 23 A on the PP, it seems reasonable to guess that Pouliot would have had more than 23 PP assists given that Schremp had 49 A on the year vs. Pouliots 69, but it would only be a guess) on a team that scored 333 goals of which 109 were on the PP.
It seems the Oilers value Schremp's PP skill set more so than they do Pouliot's, from the PP time they seem to be offering (again, from the hearsay I've read, haven't seen any PP IT stats) to Schremp, but I wouldn't mind seeing Pouliot be given the same opportunities in a pre season game or two to see how it goes.
I always like to look for complicated reasoning when the simplest is probably more likely - in this case the simplest being that MacT really does think Schremp can add to the team and honestly hopes he can force his way onto the team. One more interesting theory might be that the Oilers are concerned about Schremp re-entering, and want to get him signed before they send him back to junior. We haven't heard much on this front, but the Oilers would still need to sign him were he to make the team.
My opinion, from what I've read to this point, is that Pouliot is the better player now, and may not be any worse on the PP than Schremp would be. It seems to be commonly accepted that Schremp is the superior PP player, but I don't think it's clear from what I've read. Schremp as a better PP shooter, I could believe that, even better overall , sure, but is it truly a slam dunk that Schremp would be a significantly better PP performer than Stoll? Horcoff? Peca? Pouliot? Reasoner? He has to be to stick.
And should I be convinced that the Oilers coaching staff can perfectly identify the best PP players to begin with? The fact that they had an awful PP last season doesn't necessarily mean they don't know how to pick the right guys, but I can't say it excludes that possibility either.