- photo credit: Sun Media
Highly touted prospect Rob Schremp should be able to crack the Oilers lineup this season, said head coach Craig MacTavish during the first day of training camp.
"This is the first year that I can say with Rob that he's got a real legitimate chance of staying here," MacTavish told reporters at Rexall Place.
"We're going to give him lots of opportunity to show that he belongs here."
Schremp, the Oilers' first round pick in 2004, has come into camp before with high expectations, but this is the first time MacTavish has been so publicly positive about his chances of making the team.
"We're going to play him with good players and give him an opportunity to show us the best parts of his game, which is offence," said MacTavish.
"If he can create the offence then we're going to keep him and we'll find a spot for him somewhere."
In previous years, the coaching staff has been critical of Schremp's fitness level, skating ability and maturity, but MacTavish said the former London Knight has shown great progress and should be ready to compete for a job with the big club.
Last season, the 5'11", 200-lb. native of Syracuse, NY scored 23 goals and 53 assists in 78 games in Springfield, making him almost a point-per-game player.
The 22-year-old worked hard this off-season with Oilers trainer Chad Moreau and he sounded like a mature pro player when he spoke with the media on Day One of training camp.
"Playing in junior you kind of get away with whatever you want," said Schremp.
"When people try to tell you to do things differently and you're scoring at will it's kind of hard to realize what you need to work on and I think playing in the minors over the last two years has really made me put my priorities straight and be ready to realize what it takes to be a pro."
Schremp, who was still recovering from an injury when he reported training camp last year, called his time in the minors and his summer working out with NHLers eyeopening.
Now, Schremp has to take what he's learned and open some eyes at training camp.