Theo Peckham is the only D callup for the Oilers so far this season. Considering age + wear-and-tear that’s a very impressive number. The Oilers do have Jason Strudwick as a #7 man on the roster and he’s played D quite a bit (especially early) along the blue.
Peckham played 11:19 (-2) against Pittsburgh on November 6, 2008 and that’s all she wrote from the minor leagues.
I think it’s reasonable to begin the conversation with the idea that Peckham is still the first callup option should the need arise. We do have half an AHL season to draw information from and I think this season is seeing some of the D who were “in the mix” fall away and it’s not certain who will fill the void.
First, some numbers. The Falcons have scored 104 goals and allowed 137 in the season’s first half (45 games, meaning they’re 2.31GF-3.04GA and a poor team by any measure). They have scored 37 goals on the PP and allowed 49 when the other team has a man advantage (or more). On the PK they’ve been outscored 4-7 and also trail in EN goals by a 2-7 count. One of the SH goals was also an empty netter at the end of the game (I’m including Mathieu Roy’s bizarre goal this week in this scenario btw) so we’ll count it only one time.
So my estimate is that the Falcons EV number is -14 (61-75) and we can safely say anyone who has played 40+ games and has a plus minus below -7 is doing an outstanding job. An average plus minus per game on the Falcons would be about -.104 (.311 divided by 3 as noted by Bruce in the comments). Let’s list all the Dmen by their plus minus per game (10 gp min):
- Taylor +.18
- Wild +.16
- Gabinet +.13
- Bisaillon +.074
- Hrabel Even
- Peckham -.073
- Young -.21
- Bina -.50
- Chorney -.51
- Roy -.63
Those who were “better than average” are in bold. Let’s quickly zip through the list. Roy’s falloff is fascinating and under ordinary circumstances I’d spend a lot of time talking about it. Jake Taylor hasn’t played the full season but he’s where you would expect an AHL veteran to be (at the top, beyond the prospects and suspects). Peckham isn’t at the top but is on the good side of the -.104 metric we agreed was zero at the beginning. Wild’s number is the most curious of the entire set because despite being a healthy scratch a lot this season (and he’s also been sent to the ECHL for 6 games) his number is superb against this backdrop (and about to get much better as you’ll see).
This would be the extent of the picture if it weren’t for the blogosphere’s own Jonathan Willis. His work on AHL toughness of minutes gives us a door to step through for the first time and offers us another dimension (I’m trying like hell to get a Rod Serling reference in here and almost called this post “Where is Everybody?”) and a glimpse into these defenders.
From the post at his site (Copper & Blue to the right, it’s also at ON but down the page) we get these toughness of minutes:
- Theo Peckham: 1.834
- Cody Wild: 1.812
- Taylor Chorney: 1.693
- Josef Hrabal: 1.658
- Robbie Bina: 1.651
- Mathieu Roy: 1.608
- Ryan Constant: 1.571
- Jake Taylor: 1.481
- Bryan Young: 1.476
- Sebastien Bisaillon: 1.309
- Mike Gabinet: 1.130
We see things more clearly. The tough minute men (Peckham & Wild) are the kids and in fact I believe Chorney would be in the tough minutes category (I’ve used 1.70 as the cutoff and then 1.50 as the second cut) save for a slackening of the rope in the final 10 games or so before the break. The Oilers appear to have decided that their best prospects will get the highest mountains to climb in AAA which is an interesting idea. They also HS Wild enough that I believe he’s an unlikely callup this season (despite having the best rating based on these numbers).
Either way, here’s how I’d list the callups based on these numbers:
- Peckham: Has good numbers and some experience.
- Wild: These are terrific numbers.
- Hrabal: I know they just dumpstered him but why?
- Bisaillon: He always shows well.
Roy looks done based on the numbers, I don’t know what to make of it. Jake Taylor’s toughness of minutes means there must be a reason he’s getting those minutes (I imagine they wanted him to make hay and he seems to have done so when in the lineup) and Bryan Young is a strange one (a defensive defenseman who can’t handle the tough assignments after 134 AHL games).
The big mystery in Springfield isn’t “what’s up with Roy?” or “why is Hrabal refusing an ECHL assignment?” or even “is Chorney any good?” The question from Springfield this season is “why is the top rated defender being HS’d and sent to Stockton?”
And that my friends is a head-scratcher.