Summer 2007 Rank: 16
You have to like a prospect who has a nickname like “Wreckum.” I’m putting Peckham ahead of Plante because ALL of his arrows are pointing in the right direction. This is a kid who entered the OHL as a 14th round pick out of AA hockey and ended up going to the NHL 75th overall in his draft year. That’s a fricking arrow, folks.
In the spring of 2006, ISS liked him a lot, rating his #85 in their year-end guide. They said: “He’s been fearless since his rookie season and is willing to fight all comers. In today’s game, toughness alone won’t make a prospect, so he went out this year and became a more complete player. Although he has limited offensive upside, we feel he understands his limitations and avoids mistakes while playing to his strengths. ISS feels he should become a regular player in the NHL.”
The New England Hockey Journal has this quote from Peckham about his junior career: “In juniors, it’s a lot easier to muscle guys off the puck. I was trying to get the reputation that when I was on the ice I wanted the other team to know it and not come down my side of the boards, or go into the corner with me.”
McKeen’s chimed in: “Rough-and-tumble defender is a great crease clearer .. has adjusted to new rules and is rather effective in his approach .. in an 8-3 loss Peckham still managed a +1 rating .. fast feet which make him quick to react to changes in the offensive zone .. rarely caught flat footed .. strong on his skates and is often the victor of corner board battles .. solid defensively, not fooled by fast skaters or quick moves, effectively playing the man ..”
I collect quotes from publications and coaches and scouts on players, because for the most part they have plenty of truth in them. Although hockey men are given to hyperbole (hello, Mr. Prendergast) by the time a prospect reaches Theo Peckham’s age you can usually fill out a large piece of foolscap with positives and negatives.
With Peckham, it’s hard to find a bad quote. Seriously. He has to work on his skating and his foot speed. The NEHJ also had a nice quote on just those points from an NHL scout this fall, as Peckham began his career in pro hockey: “I think he’s solid positionally and has improved his transition game,” said the scout. “From the standpoint of size, he’s ready for the NHL. But he needs to work on his skating and his speed. Sure, he takes a lot of penalties but he seldom takes a dumb penalty and is good at picking his spots. Like they say in baseball, he stays within himself.”
Theo Peckham appears to be an extremely coachable young man who hits like a Mack Truck but picks his spots to do so and doesn’t hurt his team running around like an idiot. He isn’t Bobby Orr but has been able to put up points at every level, including the AHL this season (10gp, 3-2-5). He’s that steady defender who has good size and strength, uses it well and makes the right play. He can fight and he’s a tough kid.
I think Theo Peckham is going to have a career as a niche-type player, a guy who can play top 6D and play the enforcer role while being able to fight when necessary. I’ve ranked him ahead of several players who are more gifted (Plante, Wild, Bisaillon) because of the arrows and the lack of negatives, plus the fact that he played defense in the AHL (apparently adequately according to Buchberger) before age 20.
I suspect he’ll be moving up the depth chart all winter and should arrive at the 2008 training camp (along with Chorney, possibly Petry and Wild) as one of the next generation of Oilers’ rearguards. I wouldn’t bet against Theo Peckham.