July 18 2010 01:13PM
The Edmonton Oilers signed D Theo Peckham this week. Capgeek has the numbers ($550,000 salary and cap hit at the big league level, $65,000 in the AHL).
With a very reasonable end-of-the roster contract, the risk of being lost on waivers, and a less than formidable depth chart one would assume Peckham can win the day with a solid training camp.
While he was still head coach, Pat Quinn said "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 (in an interview after being bumped to the head job) said much the same, implying Peckham impressed and they were looking forward to seeing him healthy and ready in the fall at training camp. This would be a reasonable depth chart (with the top 8D's making the lineup):
- Tom Gilbert
- Ryan Whitney
- Sheldon Souray (trade block)
- Ladislav Smid
- Kurtis Foster
- Jim Vandermeer
- Jason Strudwick
- Theo Peckham (waiver eligible)
- Shawn Belle
- Taylor Chorney
- Richard Petiot
- Alex Plante
- Jeff Petry
- Johan Motin
- Jordan Bendfeld
Your list may vary, but that seems reasonable to me. Peckham has all kinds of room to move up on this list: Strudwick could be moved up front if he loses the competition, or he could retire and enter the coaching ranks; Vandermeer cleared waivers in June and can do it in the fall; Smid could falter when he takes on tougher minutes beginning in 10-11 (likely replaced by Foster) and Souray could be traded which may open up a slot in the top 6D depending on the return. Lots of room to maneuver for "Wreckum."
There is some competition below him on the depth chart, but Peckham has a strong case over the following: Belle isn't the same waiver concern so could be sent down with less worry; Chorney proved he needs more time to work on the defensive aspects of the game; Petry is a wild card who could jump the group but the organization has stated they want their prospects to progress along very specific check points (one being the AHL). The same could apply for Plante and Motin.
A prospect like Theo Peckham may never get another chance this good: he's impressed the incoming coach who is looking for exactly what he brings and the organization believes he may be able to handle a larger role based on the most recent viewing. If he shows up at TC ready to kick out the jams, Theo Peckham's NHL career might be well established one year from now.