Contract talks can wait

Edmonton Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish speaks with Rob Schremp during the Edmonton Oilers...

Edmonton Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish speaks with Rob Schremp during the Edmonton Oilers practice at Rexall Place on Thursday afternoon. (SUN/Jason Franson)

ROBIN BROWNLEE -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 12:27 PM ET

The Edmonton Oilers haven't talked to agent Scott Norton about a contract for Robbie Schremp, but don't read too much into that.

While Schremp needs to be signed by Monday at 3 p.m. to be added to the Oilers season-opening 23-man roster and a decision on whether to keep him won't be finalized - officially - until Sunday, assistant GM Scott Howson says there's plenty of time to get a deal done before the deadline.

"We feel we could reach a deal with Robbie fairly quickly if we decide to pursue that course of action," Howson said yesterday.

The Oilers and Norton would have to negotiate an entry level contract - a term of three years with a rookie cap of $984,200 per season, including bonuses, for 2004 draftees - to have Schremp start the season here.

As a late pick (25th) in the first round, Schremp wouldn't be in line to get the salary cap number, but he'd command something in the range of $850,000 per season based on comparable prospects and depending on how badly he and Norton want to get a deal done.

Wojtek Wolski, drafted four picks ahead of Schremp by Colorado in 2004, just signed an entry-level deal worth $984,200 in each of the first two years and $860,000 for the final year.

Jeff Schultz, taken 27th by Washington in 2004, signed for $850,000 in each of the first two years and $800,000 in the third.

"Robbie feels he's had a good camp," Norton said. "He'd like to have some more goals and more points under his belt, but I think he's set up some things and some pucks haven't gone in the net for him.

"Robbie's working hard and learning what it takes to play at that level. I think the experience of being around guys like Michael Peca, Ryan Smyth, Jason Smith and Chris Pronger is more valuable than anything he could learn in junior hockey, but I'm not Craig MacTavish or Kevin Lowe."


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