SUN Hockey Pool

Schremp's winging it!

SCOTT ZERR -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 9:14 AM ET

If Rob Schremp has proven anything in his first training camp with the Edmonton Oilers, it's that he's probably ready to make the leap to the NHL as a power-play specialist.

He's shown a deft touch on cross-ice passes from along the halfboards and fired off a couple of cannons that have found the back of the net.

Schremp might be the most gifted natural scorer in the Oiler ranks. But his versatility may help to tip the balance in his favour. The Oilers are toying with the idea of using Schremp on the left wing . That would afford them the chance to free up a spot for their other centres, guys like Yan Stastny and Jarret Stoll.

"It has implications for guys we have on the wing and we're faced with what kind of tangible element we want to add for the 12th, 13th, 14th forward," said head coach Craig MacTavish. "We'll be choosing between power-play help, toughness and physical help, so there's a lot on the line for two or three players.

VIABLE OPTION

"We see him right now as a very viable option for us in terms of helping us 5 on 4, 4 on 3 and 5 on 3 and those are going to be significant minutes in today's game."

Having Schremp on the port side also allows him time to gradually pick up the nuances of defensive responsibility which are less than those of a centre. Time might additionally be needed for Schremp to focus on faceoff skills and transitional play, subtleties that are nurtured through experience.

Schremp would hardly look out of place on the left wing. He spent a good portion of the latter part of last season on the wing with the London Knights, a move made by head coach Dale Hunter who suspected he might have to learn the position for a better chance at making the Oilers.

"It was a big adjustment at the beginning in London but I learned how to play there and it's not a big deal anymore," said Schremp, who prepared for tonight's test in Calgary by skating on a line with Marc-Antoine Pouliot and Kyle Brodziak at yesterday's practice.

"I'm 19 years old and I'm going to make a few mistakes.

"Some of these guys have been playing in the league for 12 years so it's not like I'm going to come in and be perfect.

"There's more responsibilities being centre but I know what they are and I can do it. But if I have to play wing to make it here then I'll play wing. If you can adjust it's a big deal and I think it's an advantage."

'I'LL PLAY GOALIE'

And Schremp's also accustomed to being a power-play specialist - a role he took on as a 17-year-old in the OHL playoffs and as well with the U.S. national team at the world junior championships

"If that's what it takes to play here, I'll do that. I'll play goalie if I have to," touted the 2004 first-round draft pick. "It doesn't really matter to me how much I play, I just want to play here."

LINE 'EM UP: In addition to the Schremp-Pouliot-Brodziak trio, the Oilers' lines at practice yesterday had Yan Stastny between Todd Harvey and Raffi Torres, Shawn Horcoff with Brad Winchester and Georges Laraque and Marty Reasoner centering Ethan Moreau and Jani Rita. The defence pairings included Igor Ulanov with Chris Pronger, Steve Staios with Dan Smith and Cory Cross with Matt Greene. Ty Conklin and Devan Dubnyk are set to line up in goal against the Flames.


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