New energy, new nerves

Coming off a 90-point campaign with the Memorial Cup champion London Knights, Rob Schremp has been...

Coming off a 90-point campaign with the Memorial Cup champion London Knights, Rob Schremp has been touted as one of the Oilers' top prospects. (London Free Press File Photo)

SCOTT ZERR -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 7:42 AM ET

Rob Schremp is ready to get down to business.

It's not a new line of work, but coming into the Edmonton Oilers' rookie camp and most likely getting a long look at the main camp beginning next week, Schremp has to raise his level of play. A difficult task, to be sure, but not one that he isn't prepared for.

"Want to, it's one thing. Am I going to, is another," said Schremp. "Last year I still came in ready to work hard, but you knew you weren't going to a main camp because of a lockout.

"This year I've come in even better shape and ready to work even harder, so maybe I've got a chance of sticking around a while longer."

Coming off a 90-point campaign with the Memorial Cup champion London Knights, Schremp has been touted as one of the Oilers' top prospects with a shot at cracking the big club's roster.

"You come out here and you really don't know where you stand or what's going to happen to you," said the Oil's 25th overall pick in 2004. "I just tried to get ready and show what I can do here. Even if I'd thought about it, I really don't know where I'd fit in. It's new energy and new nerves.

LOTS OF GOOD GUYS

"There's a lot of good guys. You never know. That's what the new energy is all about. I could be back in London in two weeks or I could be here for a month."

Schremp's off-season was short on rest and long on improvement. He was in Regina for a power-skating clinic then off to Chicago to work out alongside Matthew Barnaby and Alexei Zhamnov.

After that, Schremp headed to the American junior team's summer tryouts in Lake Placid, New York, before finally making a beeline for London and workouts there.

Like Schremp, Danny Syvret, the captain of the Knights, arrived in rookie camp with high expectations.

This is Syvret's third NHL camp, but the first as property of a team since being drafted by the Oilers in the July following free-agent bids with Washington and the New York Rangers.

The door for Syvret was opened at least a crack when the Oilers shipped Doug Lynch and Jeff Woywitka to St. Louis as part of the Chris Pronger trade.

"At the next level everyone is that much stronger, quicker and bigger and you've got to be prepared for everything,"said Syvret, who was part of the gold-medal-winning Canadian junior team back in January.

SUITABLE SPOT

"I'm going to come in and try to crack the Oilers' lineup, and if that doesn't prove successful then hopefully they'll put me in the best spot that suits me."

After butting heads with Schremp and Syvret in the Memorial Cup final, Marc-Antoine Pouliot now finds himself on the opposing team for scrimmages in rookie camp.

The two Knights are featured on Team White along with Zack Stortini and Jordan Little, while Pouliot's Team Blue boasts J.F. Jacques, Yan Stastny, Matt Greene and Devan Dubnyk.

"There's a lot of good prospects here," said Pouliot, who had a brief holiday in the Dominican Republic after wrapping up the year with the Rimouski Oceanic.

"For sure I want to make the big team and I think I'm ready, but I don't have the last decision.

"I have to show what I can and do my best. I'll do my best every practice, but I won't try to do more things and press too much."

LATE HITS: The first practice and scrimmage goes today from 9:30 a.m. to noon at St. Albert's Akinsdale Arena.


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