Schremp no shrimp when it comes to talent

ROBIN BROWNLEE -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 6:05 PM ET

The London Knights have started the OHL season on a record roll and Edmonton Oilers first-round draft pick Rob Schremp is one of the players leading the way.

The Knights went into last night's game against Mississauga with a 17-0-1 unbeaten streak and Schremp, selected 25th by the Oilers last June, hit the ice tied for third in OHL scoring with 13-16-29.

Not bad, says Schremp. Not bad?

"It's been fun," Schremp said yesterday. "Usually there's an adjustment period at the beginning of the year with new guys coming in and rookies and stuff, but it seems like we've clicked right away."

Schremp, 18, who attended a rookie camp with the Oilers in September, had GM Kevin Lowe and vice-president of hockey operations Kevin Prendergast in attendance at the Hershey Centre in Mississauga last night.

THE TOTAL PACKAGE

Playing between left winger Dave Bolland, taken 32nd by the Chicago Blackhawks in June, and Brandon Prust, Schremp has provided the total package for coach Dale Hunter.

He's playing a regular shift as Hunter's second-line centre, is getting power play time and is occasionally killing penalties.

"The first two months has been really good for us," Schremp said. "With us winning every night, it brings a really different atmosphere to the dressing room. When you're losing nobody wants to be at the rink and when you're winning everybody wants to be there."

There's never been a question about Schremp's offensive talent. The knock on him has been his attitude and defensive play.

That hasn't been an issue for the Fulton, New York, native this season. Schremp is a plus-8 and, by all accounts, has been one of London's most consistent players.

"They're happy with him," said Prendergast. "He's working at both ends of the ice. He's dedicated to playing the overall game instead of just one way."

Schremp is on pace to easily eclipse the 30-45-75 totals he compiled last season, but that's not his focus. He knows he has to be seen as reliable at both ends of the ice to make the jump to pro.

"Consistency is important, definitely," Schremp said. "You don't want to be a guy who puts up a four-point night and then disappears for four games."

STILL A CANDIDATE

Schremp remains a candidate to play for Team USA at the World Junior Championship, although he wasn't among the first 12 players already named to the team.

"I haven't really thought about it, to be honest," he said. "It would suck if I didn't (make the team), but all I can do it play well here."

AROUND THE RINK: Jesse Niinimaki's immigration paperwork is done and he is clear to join the Road Runners, but the team has decided to give him an extra day or two to skate and work out here. "He could go into Houston or he could meet us in Hamilton," said GM Scott Howson ... Howson will talk with agent Paul Corbeil in the next day or two to re-visit the possibility of having defenceman Marc-Andre Bergeron sign an AHL deal. The issue is insurance and what it will cost to cover the four-year $3.8 million contract Bergeron signed in September.


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