#5 Prospect: Theo Peckham

Winter 2009: #5
Summer 2010: #6

Winter 2010: #5

If you could send Theo Peckham back through time, he’d be just fine. I can see him lining up along the blue for the 1970 Bruins or 1975 Flyers. He would have been a welcome addition to the mid-60′s Rangers and on it goes. He’s a real throwback player, physical, determined and edgy. He stands out on the current Edmonton Oilers and is moving up the depth chart quickly. Ted Peckman would have fit in with names like Terry Harper and Gilles Marotte and Bill Speer.

We could see Theo Peckham coming from a mile back, and his style now is very similar to his days in the OHL. We’ve seen his progress over the years:

  • NHL scout pre-draft: “I think he’s solid positionally and has improved his transition game. 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.”
  • McKeen’s pre draft: “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.”
  • Craig MacTavish on the day of Peckham’s first callup to the NHL: “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.”
  • Springfield coach Jeff Truitt 2008-09: “Theo’s still a young player, but he shows a well-rounded game. He’s physical, a guy his team can count on. He’s relied upon for penalty-killing and the power play. On the power play, he has a knack for getting a shot through traffic.”
  • Pat Quinn spring 2010: : “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.”

Tom Renney chimed in with some nice comments this week, mostly having to do with consistency. Peckham has impressed during a time when more veteran defenders are going the other way, and because of it has been getting some tougher minutes lately. So far, so good.

Derek Zona and Black Dog Hates Skunks both have items that involve Peckham that I’d suggest reading. Derek’s little run on Theo at the end there is just terrific stuff, lordy that’s a hammer on a drum.

I believe Theo Peckham–if healthy–will pass Ladislav Smid on the organizational depth chart by the end of the season. So, when the deadline comes there’s a possibility Smid will be in play.

Peckham’s style of play and enthusiasm are a welcome addition to a team that can sometimes lack emotion. If he can stay healthy and be effective, one suspects he’ll eventually emerge as a team leader. He seems to have that quality about him. Peckham’s presence should mean opposition forwards keep their heads up when crossing the neutral zone for years to come. He’s a frightening hitter.

Theo Peckham has had some injury and conditioning issues in the last 16 months:

Defensemen are always getting hurt, so this is an area to watch closely. His injury history is not long compared to other defenders his age and style.

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