Is Petry Really #1?

This is Jeff Petry. He has a chance to join a long list of Oilers prospects whose fame is well beyond actual ability. The new Jani Rita, the next Robbie Schremp.

Petry is ranked currently as the top prospect in the Oilers system by pretty much everyone (save for the Hockey News and me) who has made a list. Guy Flaming’s annual HF top 20 has Petry at the top, as does new blogger Bryanbryoil (you can get to his site from my Oiler blogroll).

Why is Petry so famous? Lots of reasons. Son of Dan Petry, former Detroit Tigers major league pitcher, he was also named the USA Hockey Junior Player of the Year in June 2007. He won the award 6 months before his 20th birthday, when most kids his age had at least another college season under their belts.


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26 Responses to "Is Petry Really #1?"

  1. Hockeysmack says:

    The depth at d-man in the Oiler farm system means some interesting decisions may be made with Smid and/or Grebeshkov. Frankly. I am hopeful some of this young talent can be used to make a deal to fill the hole that has existed between the pipes for about 10 years. Keri Lehtonen anyone?

  2. Bryanbryoil says:

    Petry is the consensus #1 prospect because he has the highest upside. He has the size, speed, ability to play the physical game,the ability to rush the puck, and he has a big time shot. All while still needing to fill out his frame. Nash is a fine prospect, but his upside is below that of Jeff Petry. My declaration of Petry as the Oilers #1 prospect has nothing to do with who his father is, and everything to do with what he has shown on the ice, and the type of a player that he projects to be.

  3. Lowetide says:

    Bryan: That’s just my point: How much can you “project” a 20-year old? Petry isn’t Nash’s age, he’s Peckham’s age.

    Last season, Jeff Petry as a freshman was older than two sophomore D on Michigan State (Mike Ratchik, Ryan Turek). He SHOULD look composed and sure of himself compared to someone like Nash in his freshman season.

    Again, I’m not arguing his talent he clearly does have some things that make him a quality prospect. I am questioning him being the top prospect.

    Not singling you out, as Guy is the one who first suggested it.

  4. Scott says:

    Is there something wrong with Jordan Eberle? He and Riley Nash are almost exactly a year apart in age. Eberle managed 42 goals and 75 points in 70 games in the WHL in his draft year. Nash managed 84 points in 55 games in the BCHL in his draft year. To me, over a PPG in the WHL is quite a bit more impressive. Granted, Nash is bigger and he did follow his draft year with a good season in NCAA, but 15th in WHL scoring in one’s draft year is also a pretty nice achievement. WIth the usual caveat that we have a very limited amount of information about these players, I would say that Eberle looks to be the best of the bunch, especially since he has a unique skill amongst all of our prospects: goal-scorer.

  5. Lord Bob says:

    There is an ambience of “saw him good” about Petry, for sure. Yes, he’s got all the tools, but he hasn’t shown a ton that he can put them together. A lot of his fame stems from the USHL and believe me, you can [i]never[/i] trust USHL numbers.

    At Michigan State, Petry’s been pretty solid, but not spectacular like Nash (or for that matter Eberle) has been. This isn’t to say he’s a bad player, but I have him seventh on my list, and I mean it.

  6. Lowetide says:

    I pretty much agree with all of that. Eberle certainly should be in the conversation.

    It’ll be interesting to see how much Petry shows offensively this season. Did that other kid on their blueline (the Flyer pick) turn pro?

  7. Gord says:

    There are many different ways to describe a #1… Potential upside is the most used…

    My gut feeling is that Nash is a guaranteed “minimum 3rd liner” who will have (barring injury) the longest career of those in the system.

    And I expect Peckham to be up full time shortly after Christmas as a 5/6 who will move up to 3/4 within a couple of years (imagine Staios with an extremely mean side)…

    As far as some of the others go, I keep hearing good things but I’ll have to see for myself in the upcoming rookie games before I make a judgment call…

  8. B.C.B. says:

    Gord: I live out east and have never seem Peckham live, but how can you have him as 5/6 d-man by Jan?
    Assuming Sourey is injured, that would mean two of either Staios, Smid, and Struwick will be injured, demoted or traded- to put him in fifth position and only one for him to be sixth. (that leaves Roy as the 6th/7th) Unless there is a deal in the works or Peckham destroys the AHL and forces a trade- I believe he’ll be in Springfield for most of the season with a cup of coffee in the NHL (where he see more ice time and won’t use up games before he is waiver-elegible)

    Lowetide: I like Eberle as the number 1 prospect, as Scott said a goal scorer (the only other one we have is schremp- after that I can’t remember the last one).

  9. Scott says:

    If there is anyone that deserves the “I keep hearing good things about him but…” it needs to be Theo Peckham. The guy’s numbers are not terrible, but they’re not good, and he isn’t looking poised to jump to the NHL full time by Christmas if last year’s numbers are any indication. Even to get to #6 he would need to pass all of Smid, Roy and Strudwick as well as beat out all of Young, Bisaillon, Chorney and the other veterans and new guys down in Springfield. If Peckham is either the #5 or #6 option at Christmas, we’ve had a ton of injuries.

  10. Lord Bob says:

    The counting numbers for a guy like Peckham tell so little of the story that we may as well ignore them.

    He’s a surprisingly good skater, an alarmingly good hitter, and a sensible player whose greatest weaknesses are supposedly positioning and, of course, experience. He’s got a shot the size of a planet but he’s also a defensive player down to the very heart. Looking at the boxcars isn’t going to impress us, because he’s not the sort of player who gets lots of them (his best offensive junior season he was actually playing the screen on the powerplay in Owen Sound).

    I don’t think anybody’s under the impression that Peckham’s the next Robyn Regehr. But he’s made a bunch of noise in his last couple OHL seasons and in his only AHL season so far, and that’s exactly what you’re looking for in a player of his type. He’s constantly progressing, and even if he’s not Sidney Crosby that’s what you look for.

  11. Bryanbryoil says:

    How many defensemen are finnished products at 20 or 21 years of age? Look at Smid as an example, are we to believe that he is done learning the game or improving in certain aspects of the game? He’s played all of 1 season at a higher level of hockey and he made great strides in a short time.

    As for Nash, I really don’t think that his ceiling is as a 3rd liner. And if it was, how pathetic would our prospect pool be if our best prospects was a 3rd liner?

    I have yet to see Eberle in action, but plan on doing so if he gets into a preseason game or 2, as well as trying to catch a few WHL games this year. So I can’t make an educated decision on him, but from what I hear, he’ll probably be like Schremp in that he’ll take some time to come along.

  12. Bryanbryoil says:

    lord bob, 7th? Really? Would you mind listing #’s 1-6 of your list?

  13. Lord Bob says:

    1) Eberle
    2) Trukhno
    3) Nash
    4) Schremp
    5) Chorney
    6) Peckham
    7) Petry
    8) Vande Velde
    9) Deslauriers
    10) Reddox

    I keep meaning to do a writeup on my website about it without just copypasting LT’s stuff. :P

  14. Bryanbryoil says:

    interesting, IMO you have Trukhno and Reddox way too high, but to each their own.

    I’ve done my top 2 on my blog so far.


    I do agree that Chorney is a bit overrated (often times in the top 2 or 3), however I think that Petry is the better of the 2 (obviously).

  15. Gord says:

    If there is anyone that deserves the “I keep hearing good things about him but…” it needs to be Theo Peckham. The guy’s numbers are not terrible, but they’re not good, and he isn’t looking poised to jump to the NHL full time by Christmas if last year’s numbers are any indication.

    From someone who has had glances

    Two years ago next week I saw Peckham in the Oilers rookies / Golden Bears game – I stated at that time he was making the Oilers very soon – I was corrected by someone who pointed out his age…

    I saw Peckham last year against the Golden Bears; I saw him a few months ago in Sherwood Park at the rookies "training session" game…

    He is getting smoother & smoother every time I see him – he is not a scoring defenseman – Peckham is a Mack Truck on skates…

    He is part Steve Staois – part Scott Stevens – he could step into the lineup to start the season if the Oilers were desperate – seriously…

    Forget the numbers – Peckham fills a role on the roster no other prospect could ever fill…

    And they will make room for him in the line-up before the trade deadline – one way or another…

  16. Scott says:

    On Defence: I don’t think that defencemen are close to finished developing at age 20 or 21, but neither do I think there is anyone here that does believe this.

    On Peckham: I realise that his main strengths are defense. Still, some of those numbers aren’t looking too good. This is copied from a post Lowetide made last month:

    TJ Reynolds 24gp (+3) +.125/gm
    Rick Berry 54gp (+6) +.111/gm
    Danny Syvret 36gp (E) 0.00/gm
    Bryan Young 74gp (-4) -.050/gm
    Allan Rourke 44gp (-6) -.136/gm
    Sebastien Bisaillon 22gp (-3) -.136/gm
    Mike Gabinet 19gp (-3) -.158/gm
    Cody Wild 13gp (-3) -.231/gm
    Theo Peckham 59gp (-14) -.237/gm
    TJ Kemp 73gp (-20) -.273/gm
    Brad Farynuk 20gp (-8) -.400/gm

    To me this does not paint a friendly portrait for a defenceman that will not be expected to contribute offence. Will he be better than a guy like Bryan Young? Maybe. Is he better now? Probably not. Those two guys are competing for a similar role. The other guys they’re competing against – Roy and Smid – for that role have better overall results at the AHL level. The only way Peckham plays in the NHL for an extended period is if the Oilers are more concerned about his development than they are sending out their best six, we are in the middle of a string of defenceman injuries that sees at least three of our regular top six down. His chances improve if a defenceman is traded or claimed on waivers without anyone coming back the other way. For him to have any chance he’ll need to improve substantially over last year’s performance.

    On Petry: I do think he is behind somewhat. Here is what some other Michigan State guys achieved at 21:

    John Michael Liles:
    41gp, 13-22-35, 0.854ppg
    Brad Fast:
    42gp, 4-24-28, 0.667ppg
    Mike Ratchuk:
    42gp, 6-19-25, 0.595ppg
    Jeff Petry:
    42gp, 3-21-24, 0.571ppg

    It’s not exactly a huge sample or anything, but these guys were playing in the same system not too terribly long ago. Ratchuk was there this past year (he played a few games for Philly’s AHL squad, so I assume he’s moving on). I know which of the three Petry looks the least like: the really good NHL player. I just don’t see it in him yet.

  17. Lord Bob says:

    interesting, IMO you have Trukhno and Reddox way too high, but to each their own.

    Trukhno’s a good argument and one that I’d look forward to having. Reddox’s position is a bit deceiving, though: I think there’s a big drop-off between numbers eight and nine. So Reddox is very much in a lower tier of d00dz.

  18. spOILer says:

    If it’s closest to the NHL, then (and God please strike me down for saying this) Schremp is probably the top prospect. He’s just not the most valuable prospect to the Oilers with his type of play already being duplicated in the NHL roster.

    If it is on sheer upside, probably it is Eberle. But he has some knocks (not as bad as Schremp’s knocks because Jordan is known as a battler and is doing it by himself, whereas Robbie’s junior team was loaded).

    As far as Nash goes, being projected to no worse than a 3rd liner with a long careeer (say a Carbonneau), with possibilities of developing into a Tikkanen/Horcoff type, is certainly no embarrassment to the Oiler system, given the three offensive prospects they graduated at the same time last year. BBO, Gord stated 3rd line was Nash’s floor, not his ceiling and I’d have to agree.

    Petry looks like he could develop into a Gilbert type(bigger offensive guy known more for positioning than physicality), but he’s not there yet. Gilbert took a big step as a 22.8 yo so Jeff has some time.

    Accordingly, my top 5 would be:


    I have Nash above Eberle because I think he’s more of a sure thing.

    I think Schremp will likely be playing in the NHL–somewhere–this year.

    And if we’re counting Brule, he could easily be inserted at #1.

  19. knighttown says:


    Sorry, not trying to single you out, but I hate when people use Guy Carbonneau as a “basement” for a prospect. As in “he should be no worse than Guy Carbonneau and may even be a Shawn Horcoff”-re Nash. Just to clarify, Carbo is in the conversation of best defensive forwards of all time, is a three time Selke trophy winner, scored 824 career regular season and playoff points and won 3 Cups. And as a junior, he scored 182 points in his final season. They name an award after him in the QMJHL. If he’s not a Hall of Famer, it’s only his counting stats that keep him out. If that’s Nash’s basement, life is good.

  20. spOILer says:

    Understood. I thought it was trite when I wrote it, but didn’t want to waste the time thinking of a closer analog. but now that you’ve pointed it out, I am enjoying the shot it takes at Carbonneau. You’re right though, that’s far too much blue sky to make a good floor for Nash at this point.

  21. Boondock says:

    My hope for Nash is that he becomes a Kesler-type player.

    McGuire commented on his grittiness and agitating abilities at the WJC camp, combined with his size and speed make Kesler a possible good comparison, which would IMO be a great compliment to a centre like Gagner.

  22. Gord says:

    scott wrote: For him to have any chance he’ll need to improve substantially over last year’s performance.

    There are more than a few reasons I believe Peckham will be playing with the Oilers shortly after Christmas.

    The first is that Peckham fills the enforcer role on the team.

    The second is that I have seen him three times – all three times he played smart & looked smoother skating every time; plus he was always positioning to hit the opposition – and a hard hitting defenseman fills a void on the team.

    Third is that injuries should create an opening…

    But the main reason is quotes from an article written three months ago…

    “To be honest he’s ahead of schedule now,” said Oilers vice-president of hockey operations Kevin Prendergast.

    “This is where we thought he’d be at the end of this season. He’s come so far since training camp. He brings that element of being tough, and he can move the puck and shoot it. He’s got all the ingredients.”

    Rather than lose any ground over the summer, Peckham and the Oilers agreed that he would come to Edmonton, move in with a family just down the street from Buchberger, and continue where he left off in Springfield.

    By the end of the season he was one of our best defencemen ,” said Buchberger.

  23. Bryanbryoil says:

    Peckham will be a force, he was a man amoung boys in the AHL AS a boy (started the year at 19 years of age). Unlike many, I do believe that he will be a well rounded d-man that also provides some offense. At the moment he is our fastest learning prospect IMO.

  24. Lowetide says:

    Agree completely, Bryan. Which is one of the reasons why I rate him higher than Petry at this time.

  25. Ribs says:

    I think when it comes to rating prospects there is a tendency to place offensive prospects above everything else. As right or wrong as it is, I don’t see that changing any time soon.

  26. love4hockey says:

    I watched a lot of Springfield games. Peckham’s numbers seem lower because he was put out against tough lines. He is also not a selfish player. Often he would start playes but would not get an assist because he was a 3rd or 4th man on the play, but the play originated with him. He is team focussed not “I’m a star” focussed. It shows if you watch him on the ice.

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