SUN Hockey Pool

Schremp full of potential

ROBIN BROWNLEE -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 8:39 AM ET

With the NHL cracking down on obstruction with new rules in an attempt to open up the game and teams adapting to new standards, the gate to the penalty box will swing open plenty this pre-season.

Likewise, the window of opportunity for forward Robbie Schremp, the power-play specialist from the London Knights the Edmonton Oilers drafted 25th overall in 2004.

Schremp tallied 41-49-90 with London on the way to hoisting the Memorial Cup last spring, and more than half his points, an OHL-leading 23 goals and 23 assists for 46 points, came on the power play.

"Last season was definitely huge for me," said Schremp. "We learned what it takes to win in tight situations. I got a chance to mature and develop as a player. I learned a lot."

EARNING A SPOT

The 19-year-old from Fulton, New York, is fully aware his best shot to earn a roster spot at forward between now and the start of the regular season Oct. 5 is to help spark some life into a power play that finished a woeful 29th in the NHL in 2003-04.

"I have the ability to run a power play," said Schremp, who had two goals in the Joey Moss Cup game.

"I can't say if I can do it in the NHL, but I'm hoping I can and I think I can. I did it in London. I'm going to come in and try to fit in with it. That's the opening for me."

Schremp's forte is working the half-boards, and that's where coach Craig MacTavish will look at him.

Schremp spent part of the second day of camp yesterday skating on a power-play unit with Ryan Smyth, Shawn Horcoff, Marc-Andre Bergeron and Chris Pronger.

"His selling point is how he can quarterback the power play," vice-president of hockey operations Kevin Prendergast said.

SEEING HOW HE REACTS

"We'll have a good look at him there in pre-season. We'll see how he reacts. If he's ready, we'll certainly try to make room for him."

With only one job among 14 positions for forwards really up for grabs, how Schremp performs on the power-play could be his ticket over fellow rookies Brad Winchester, Yan Stastny and Jani Rita.

"I think my confidence is good and that I'm ready to play here," Schremp said. "The question is if there's a spot open. Even if there is, I'm going to have to work for it.

"I'm ready to make the step. Guys here are bigger, stronger and faster, but you have to think the game and be able to adjust. That's a key for young players coming in. I think I can think the game at this level."


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