Schremp means business

Rob Schremp has his eyes set on an Edmonton Oiler roster spot this season. (London Free Press...

Rob Schremp has his eyes set on an Edmonton Oiler roster spot this season. (London Free Press File/Morris Lamont)

DEREK VAN DIEST -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 8:57 AM ET

A year ago, Rob Schremp nearly made the team.

The Edmonton Oilers' second pick -- 25th overall -- in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft was one of the final cuts at training camp.

Schremp was sent back to play another year of junior hockey with the London Knights where he lit up the league, finishing as the OHL's top scorer with 57 goals and 88 assists for 145 points in 57 games.

This year, the five-foot-11, 200-pound centre has his sights sets on an Oiler roster spot.

"Last year I was just kind of nervous being at my first NHL main camp," Schremp said. "Going into rookie camp this year, I'm going in a little bit more confident. I really know what I have to do to make the team."

Schremp, 20, has been in town for over a week and is currently skating at the University of Alberta, preparing for the upcoming season.

He'll be attending the Oilers' rookie camp starting Saturday in Leduc. It'll be the third time Schremp has taken part in an Oiler rookie camp. He'll take part in his second main camp the following week.

"This year I think I'm a little more mature and I'm in a little better shape than I was last year," Schremp said. "This year it's more business-like.

"Last year you get on the ice for an exhibition game against guys like (Ed) Jovanovski and the Sedin twins and you're in awe. You kind of get caught watching when you should be playing. It was tough last year keeping your focus and doing what you have to do."

As a highly touted prospect, Schremp is expected to eventually crack the Oilers roster. But whether it's this year or in the near future has yet to be determined.

Part of the reason for that is that the Oilers are going into camp loaded up front, with few openings on the top four lines.

"It makes it more of a challenge, but I know what I can do, I know what I have to do," Schremp said.

"It doesn't matter what those other forwards that they signed do, it's all up to me what I do. It makes it tougher, but we'll see what happens."

Being sent back to junior last season was a bitter pill for Schremp to swallow. He arrived at Oilers camp a year ago having registered 90 points en route to a Memorial Cup championship with the Knights.

However, as a junior-aged player, it was either the NHL or OHL for Schremp. And once he was sent down, he could not be recalled until the Knights' season was over.

"It wasn't a bad situation for me," Schremp said. "It was obviously tough being sent down, but at the same time it was good for my development, and one more year to mature never hurts."

A year older, a year wiser and a year stronger bodes well for Schremp this season. He went back to junior knowing what specific areas he needed to work on in order to make the jump to the NHL.

He'll head into camp this year more responsible and reliable defensively.

And if it's not good enough to make the team this year, he'll do whatever is required to get back to Edmonton as soon as possible.

"You want to play in the NHL, that has been my dream since I was a kid," he said.

"I want to be here, this is where I want to be, I don't want to play anywhere else.

"But at the same time, it's not my decision, all I can do is play the game and hope that they like what they see and think I'm ready."


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