Theo Peckham: Rock And A Hard Place

I’m beginning our look at 09-10 defenseman with a very important piece of the future: Theo Peckham. Unique among the young defensemen knocking at the NHL door, Peckham has the physical tools required to play at this level. There are concerns with regard to injury and conditioning, but the resume is a good one.

  • Boxcars: 15gp, 0-1-1
  • Shots: 9
  • Plus Minus: -8
  • Corsi (Rel): -12.6 (5th among D, DNQ)
  • GF/GA ON: 5-12
  • 5×5/60: 0.28 (6th among F’s, DNQ)
  • 5×4/60: nil
  • Quality of Competition: 5th toughest among D’s
  • Quality of Teammates: 7th best among D’s 
  • Offensive Zone Start FO %: 38.9% (toughest among D’s, DNQ)
  • Cap Hit: $600,000 (RFA)
  1. What do these numbers tell us? Peckham was injured before training camp and then conditioning was a problem (such a problem the Oilers management actually mentioned it). You can see it too: in October 2009, Peckham went 4gp, 0-0-0 -5. In his 11 March games, he was 0-1-1 -3. The kid was playing bigger minutes in March too.
  2. How could these numbers be better? Just more time. He had 43 pims and was a willing fighter, and he had calm feet (or calmer feet) late in the season. Peckham gives you the idea that he can make a play, be it a physical manhandling or reading a situation. He is somewhat alone among the group of defensemen bubbling under for the Oilers.
  3. What was said about his conditioning? Last fall, Rob Daum was on Bob Stauffer’s show and suggested conditioning was an issue. He even mentioned conditioning was an issue when Peckham was healthy. I think the problem may have come from not being able to workout due to the pre-training camp injury (ankle) but either way it was enough of an issue for management to say it out loud and that’s a pretty big deal.
  4. What’s he good at? Why do you like him? Peckham plays with confidence and is tough enough to stand in there during all those physical exchanges around the net. He’s 6.02, 225 and although there will be growing pains I can’t see anyone in the system being close to this guy in the fall.
  5. Did management show any kind of trust in him? Pat Quinn: “When I first saw him (in an Oilers uniform), the scouting report was that he was a tough kid who didn’t really know how to play. When he came back (on his most recent call-up), he showed us that he had a little bit more than just being a tough guy. As he played and gained our confidence, he was gaining his own as well. They were really good minutes for him.”
  6. How important is he to the organization? Pretty important. I think the organization is probably moving their depth chart around, with Chorney stepping into an elevator shaft and Petry’s NHL ETA being pushed back. If we can agree that Plante and Motin will need some more time in the AHL, then Theo Peckham is it. Also, there’s every chance the club is going to sign someone from the Strudwick-Johnson tree, meaning that Peckham has an extremely reachable bar in terms of getting into the top 6D on the depth chart. And that’s before injuries.
Projected Role in 2009-10: Top 6D on the Edmonton Oilers

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