Our Islanders report cards here are a summer-long quest to beat back the heat and reconsider the performances of the prior season. I throw up some information (your interpretation of "throw up" may vary), you mull it over and counter-argue as needed; we all vote a "grade" for that player based on our preseason expectations...
...Which makes Rob Schremp Hockey a fun case. As you'll recall, he was a waiver pickup at the end of preseason. My read at the time -- which was well-debated in comments -- was that it was a "no-brainer" gamble for Snow but also one that was no more than a 50/50 shot of turning up roses. Low risk, high reward, no harm if it didn't work out.
So did it work out? Certainly the maturity/character/Ambiguous Intangibles questions that followed Schremp here did not prove to be an issue. As for on the ice, follow me after the jump for various trivial bits of criteria, then weigh in with your own grade.
#13 / Center / New York Islanders
Jul 01, 1986
Accepted Q.O., 1 yr. at $750,750
One GM's trash is another GM's treasure.
I may be wrong, but the general impression I get from fans is that Schremp's season stat line is less impressive than the opinion people had of him by the time his season ended. A few factors go into that...
|2009-10 - Rob Schremp||44||7
First, it took a while for Schremp to be worked in -- an aborted attempt at fitting him on the wing only delayed things -- but by the second half of the season and before his season-ending knee injury, he was starting to display the specialty skills (PP, shootout) that made him a worthy gamble.
He didn't register his (absolutely hilarious) first goal until his tenth game -- which didn't come until Dec. 12, the Islanders' 31st game of the season. His second goal came 10 games later, on New Year's Eve, at which point his season total was 20GP, 2G, 5A, 7P, minus-6. So 20 games in, the Schremp Experiment looked iffy.
It would be wrong to say that's when the magic started, but New Year's Eve began a run of 5 goals, 7 assists (12 pts.) in 14 games for Schremp. That also coincided with the Islanders' best stretch of the season (which, it must be said, was a little bit OT-aided).
By the end, Schremp amassed 18 points in his final 24 games. In terms of GVT -- which is not predictive but is reflective of what happened -- he was the seventh-highest contributor on the team toward wins. (Note, that GVT figure includes some shootout magic, since those do actually matter in the wins column in The People Demand A Winner version of the NHL.)
So Schremp started cold as he and Scott Gordon searched for the right fit, and he finished hot as he found his niche as soft-minutes offensive center. But in the end we don't really know what we have in him because 44 games (24 if you just cut off the adjustment period) is a terribly small sample. He's only 24 as of last month though; it's reasonable to think he's just blossoming into a possible role as a secondary scorer and PP specialist in the NHL.
This is a huge year for Schremp. Gordon decided early on that Rob Schremp Hockey only fits at center, so Schremp needs to produce in that role where John Tavares gets the first-choice minutes, Frans Nielsen handles the tough competition, and Schremp picks up the scraps. That means fewer minutes than the others, but it also means those minutes should be against weaker opposition. Still, Josh Bailey's future still appears to be at center, so if Schremp falters or if Bailey stakes a claim at center this year, Schremp's opportunities could diminish.
Still, his skills are obvious and applicable to both the PP and the shootout. If he gets enough chances and delivers this year, he'll win himself another NHL contract as an RFA either with the Isles or as part of an asset swap next summer.
First NHL Goal Celebration
The Colorado Swat
You arrived with a bad rap
Oil fans calling you a trap
Though it took a little while
Out came Rob Schremp Hockey style
That first goal celebration
A spread-eagle-jump boogie
Yet so soon outdone
By that Colorado swat beauty
Let's have us another year
The knee fully operational
Give us more highlights to cheer
A celebration or two sensational
If you're new to these report cards, here is where you rate Schremp's 2009-10 relative to your preseason expectations, with extreme out-performance rating in the 8-10 region and severe underperformance in the 1-3 range. You get the idea.