Oilers #11 Prospect December 2007: Theo Peckham

Current Rank: 11

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.

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3 Responses to "Oilers #11 Prospect December 2007: Theo Peckham"

  1. jon says:

    Since training camp and the Golden Bear/Oilers Rookie game Peckham has definitely intrigued me. I remember being extremely impressed with his intelligence and solid overall game, especially in the first two periods.

    The thing that’s really interesting is that he wins a lot of the board battles not just because he can outmuscle guys, but he’ll also make small deft plays to just knock the puck out of the forward’s reach.

    Another example is when his partner made a poor D to D pass and it got caught in his feet as a fast UofA skater was coming in. Rather than try and fish it out of his feet and possibly get stripped, he calmly knocked the puck into the corner, then pushed the forward off it and cleared the zone.

    The other thing that I thought was interesting is that his skating is not that bad. He sort of reminds me of Greene in that regard, because his skating is OK for a guy his size.

    While it’s safe to say he’ll likely make the NHL as a 5/6 D, if he keeps progressing I could see him being a fan favourite as a 3/4 defender in his prime, the way we all wanted Greene to turn out.

  2. Bank Shot says:

    I’ve watched him twice and I thought he played dumber then a sack of hammers both times.

    Maybe next year I’ll notice what everyone sees in him, because so far his only value appears to be NHL ready strength.

  3. Bryanbryoil says:

    Tough as nails, a solid wrist shot, and a pretty good skater for a guy of his size, and we have ourselves a gem in Theo Peckham. He has blown past Bryan Young this year as if Young were standing still. He’s bigger, stronger, and a guy that can drop the gloves and do very well. Right now his emergence makes Young a candidate for Stockton before long IMO.

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