One of the OHL's top offensive players may not be with the U.S. at the world junior hockey championship next month.
London Knights centre Rob Schremp wasn't among the first dozen players named yesterday by USA Hockey for the tournament, Dec. 25 to Jan. 4 in Grand Forks, N.D., and Thief River Falls, Minn.
He has a month to make an impression as the remainder of the 22-player roster will be announced Dec. 6 or 7.
"All you can really do is work hard on the team you're with," said Schremp, who has attended the U.S. team's summer camp the past two years but has yet to play junior for his country.
"I think I'm playing well. I'm playing defensively and putting up points (eighth in the OHL with 10 goals and 13 assists in 16 games). I'd really like to be in North Dakota this year," the 18-year-old said of the defending gold medallists.
Jim Johannson, USA Hockey senior director, hockey operations, said Schremp "is obviously in our pool of players still being evaluated.
"The opportunity is there. We only named 12 and eight are forwards. We'll add four or five more," Johannson said from Colorado Springs, Colo.
"It will come down to what players help us with their flexibility. We have people out in the field watching and we watch tapes. It's a challenge, but the coach (Scott Sandelin, University of Minnesota) has to be confident with who's sitting on the bench."
Three OHLers -- Sarnia Sting centre Dan Fritsche, Mississauga IceDogs centre Patrick O'Sullivan and Guelph Storm right-winger Ryan Callahan -- were among the 12 named.
Fritsche, who played 19 games with the Columbus Blue Jackets last season, has yet to play a game this season following shoulder surgery in September. He's expected back in a week.
There's one Quebec league player on the American roster and seven from the U.S. college ranks.
"He'll be named," Knights coach Dale Hunter said of Schremp. "They must have a hell of a lot of good players down there, or maybe they haven't made it to London to see him."
Hunter said Schremp deserves to be with the U.S.
"He's playing both ways. He's just not looking to score. There's a lot of pressure going into the draft (Schremp was a first-round pick of the Edmonton Oilers last June), but now he's hitting people and playing a total all-round game.
"That's why he's better suited now to play for them. He's even killing penalties a little. He's got to keep playing this way to be noticed by the U.S. and to develop as a pro."
Schremp said the fact he's no longer a one-dimensional player, "they could use me as a third- or fourth-liner, whatever role they want me in.
"Dale really preaches defence and I think I've been taking care of my own zone. Let's face it, you can't play one way in the show (the NHL) anymore."