AHL Report Cards: Theo Peckham

Some guys zip right through the system and Peckham has that look about him. The organization hasn’t said one bad word about him since draft day (in fact even the draft bio’s on him were glowing) and he continues to move his way up the depth chart.

Theo Peckham was 19 to being the AHL season and obviously had a lot to learn. He’s learned it.

In Guy Flaming’s HF Top 20 (Peckham ranks 7th) Kevin Prendergast eclipsed even himself with praise: “The guy who’s come the furthest is Theo. He brought every element of his game that we drafted him for; the toughness, the ability to clear the front of the net and he’s advanced his game in being able to carry the puck and jump in the play, his gap control is very good and he’s a team-orientated player.”

The Oilers feel he is very close to NHL ready and Peckham may force the Oilers to deal one of their depth NHL defenders (Greene, Smid) in order to make room for the fall.

As noted in the Colin McDonald post earlier today, the Falcons this season (by my estimate sifting through the AHL site) are -16 at even strength this season. If we apply that number to the Falcons blueline prospects who have played 50 or more games this season (basically taking all the Dmen and subtracting their plus minus from the team total) we get:

  1. Bryan Young +10
  2. Theo Peckham +4

This is Young’s second pro season so Peckham is the only first year pro who has played more than 50 games for the Falcons this season. He’s also scored 6 goals (2 on the powerplay).

Peckham isn’t an easy prospect to grade for math nuts like me, but in my opinion the best way to grade players like Peckham is to read what the coach says about him.

When he was called up to the Oilers for his first cup of coffee late in the season, MacTavish said “We’re looking forward to seeing what he’s got. Bucky’s given him a great rating the last little while and feels like he’s ready to come in and help us. He’s a big, strong guy with decent foot speed for a guy his size and has a good first pass coming out of his zone. He started off in the East Coast League, but he’s established himself as one of the core guys in Springfield so it’s a good accomplishment so far. To come from the East Coast League to the NHL in his first year is a pretty good indication of his progress.”

FINAL GRADE: 82%

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4 Responses to "AHL Report Cards: Theo Peckham"

  1. jon k says:

    I really like Peckham and in my opinion it’s very possible he ends up being a superior defender to Greene by the end of next season.

  2. Gord says:

    On defense, Peckham is our “ace in the hole” for next season…

    There is a lot of talented depth coming up to the Oilers within three years but I only see Peckham in the immediate future.

    Unless we trade for an NHL ready shut down guy – my guess is that we go into next year with Souray / Staios / Pitkanen/ Gilbert / Grebeshkov / Smid & Greene staying with the team. Smid & Greene will rotate until the 1st injury hits (it always does)…

    If a 2nd injury hits, then we call up Peckham to play 3rd line safe minutes – otherwise he stays in Springfield.

    In early 2009, if we have a healthy defense, one of Greene or Smid will be traded to get us down to 6 NHL regulars. That is when Peckham becomes the permanent emergency call up for the rest of the season.

    My gut feeling is that Staios is traded over the summer of 2009….. Souray will have 600 games experience; Pitkanen will be up to 350 games; Either Smid or Greene will be up to 230 games; Grebeshkov & Gilbert will be around 200 games.

    Add Peckham & 80 more games to the above list – that will be the defense that Lowe will be comfortable carrying us deep into the playoffs…

    I know I would be………

  3. Dennis says:

    The better Greene plays, the more out of love the Oilers fall with Smid. And while young Laddy was certainly given a push in ’07 that was based more on optics than ability — hard to argue that when you consider he started the next season in the minors, albeit losing out to a much deeper D crops — Lowe looks to have so many other things going right that underusing or trading one of the crown jewels of the Pronger bounty won’t draw as much attention.

    2 was MacT’s bottom pairing player of choice down the stretch and he was being given a lot of those min on the PK. Now, during the game’s Souray plays next year, he’ll take some of those min but I think the Oilers are still favouring Greene over Smid.

    If we look at where and when Peckham might land with the Oilers, it will be in the bottom pairing as soon as:

    A: Greene or Smid want a raise
    B: Greene or Smid can draw enough return in a trade as to making attractive the possibility of replacing one of them with Peckham.

    Assuming that Pitkanen is signed for say four years, you’ve got him-37-77-44-24. It will come to pass that both 2 and 5 are dealt off because:

    A: 37-77 have already passed them
    B: with service time comes raises and unless they take a big step forward, we’ll be paying them to play a lesser role.

    Teams can’t afford to pay guys who are playing the 5th and 6th role and this is where Peckham will find his first soft spot to land.

    It could happen as soon as the ’09 camp breaks if say the Oilers decide he’s progressed enough that they can cut on one of Smid or Greene this coming summer.

    Lowe said awhile back, when addressing the possible glut of NHL ready talent, that when you get to the point where you can’t give playing time to all that deserve it, you deal some of them for picks. So given that we’re bereft of picks for an ’08 class that projects as super deep, it would seem prime time to deal off Smid or Greene. I’ll guess the Oilers move Smid and I select him because of how I saw Huddy running his bench and because with Smid’s offensive capabilities nothing more at this point than a rumor — and with guys like 25-37-77 already in-house and young Chorney about to pay his first month’s rent — the Oilers will choose between Smid and Greene based on which guy’s the best defensively and who’s the toughest. And we know who’s gonna win that battle.

    Lastly, the thing I liked about Peckham’s debut in Cbj was he played the exact same way in the show as he has his entire minor and pro career. He seems like a guy who’s confident enough that he’s going to play the same way no matter how the tickets are priced.

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