NEWARK - The Islanders claimed Rob Schremp off waivers Tuesday, adding a potential scoring threat to their young, rebuilding team.
Schremp was a prolific scorer in juniors and was Edmonton's first-round draft pick in 2004, but he never made it onto the Oilers roster and was waived by them Monday. The Islanders, who had first priority because of last season's 30th-place finish, decided to take a chance on the 23-year-old center because they believe he has tremendous offensive potential.
"He's a highly skilled, offensively gifted player with great vision. He's at an age where he is still maturing as a hockey player and a person, so there's upside there for our organization," Islanders general manager Garth Snow said. "To take a chance on a player like this, it seemed like it was a no-brainer to claim Rob."
Schremp, who played a total of seven games for Edmonton, welcomed the move. He will likely join the Islanders tomorrow.
"It's exciting. It's a new situation and I can't wait to get back on the ice," Schremp said by phone. "I'm not expecting anything. I'm going in with open arms and am ready to learn. I just want to stick around and see what happens."
Islanders coach Scott Gordon said if Schremp lives up to his potential, he could be a "top-six forward."
"He's got incredible skill," Gordon said. "On a breakaway, he can make a lacrosse-style goal. His hands are really good."
Schremp has proven he can score - he had 145 points in 57 games his last year in the OHL (2005-06) - but whether the 5-11, 200-pounder can do that in the NHL remains to be seen.
"I think I have creative ability, the ability to make plays and I can put the puck in the back of the net," Schremp said. "But I have to prove myself. I have a long way to come until I'm a proven NHLer."
With the Islanders' glaring lack of a pure goal-scorer - last season was the first in franchise history the team did not have a player score at least 20 goals - Schremp will get his shot. "He has the opportunity of a second chance," Gordon said. "What he does with it is in his hands."
Notes & quotes: Jeremy Reich left last night's 4-2 preseason loss to the Devils with a broken left wrist following a fight in the first period . . . Nate Thompson sat out after getting hit in the ear with a puck during the morning skate and receiving stitches . . . Trent Hunter practiced with the team for the first time since suffering a chest injury last Wednesday. He did not play last night, but he expects to be play Saturday.