Time for Wreckum?

Lowetide
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): 

  1. Tom Gilbert
  2. Ryan Whitney
  3. Sheldon Souray (trade block)
  4. Ladislav Smid
  5. Kurtis Foster
  6. Jim Vandermeer
  7. Jason Strudwick
  8. Theo Peckham (waiver eligible)
  9. Shawn Belle
  10. Taylor Chorney
  11. Richard Petiot
  12. Alex Plante
  13. Jeff Petry
  14. Johan Motin
  15. 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.

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Lowetide has been one of the Oilogosphere's shining lights for over a century. You can check him out here at OilersNation and at lowetide.ca. He is also the host of Lowdown with Lowetide weekday mornings 10-noon on TSN 1260.
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#51 RossCreekNation
July 19 2010, 12:27PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

RDS is reporting that Simon Gagne has been traded to Tampa Bay. No word on which players involved. Lightning will have a pretty good offence.

Sounds like maybe Mike Smith & a prospect(s).

Wonder if Tampa talks to Turco now EDIT: (if this is indeed true - various tweets saying Smith, but now Erik Erlendsson tweeting no goalies) gotta love twitter, lol.

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#52 RossCreekNation
July 19 2010, 12:36PM
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RossCreekNation wrote:

Sounds like maybe Mike Smith & a prospect(s).

Wonder if Tampa talks to Turco now EDIT: (if this is indeed true - various tweets saying Smith, but now Erik Erlendsson tweeting no goalies) gotta love twitter, lol.

Per Damian Cristodero of SP Times: It's Gagne for Matt Walker and a fourth-round pick.

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#53 Archaeologuy
July 19 2010, 12:40PM
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RossCreekNation wrote:

Per Damian Cristodero of SP Times: It's Gagne for Matt Walker and a fourth-round pick.

Wow

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#54 hoil
July 19 2010, 01:08PM
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In other news:

Secret Soviet Double Agent Horcoff, aka "Horcov", code name "Nogoalov" is rumoured to be lining up with the Oiler's #1 line to start the season.

(with apologies to Black Dog Hates Skunks and McDs for blatent rip-offs of their gags) -------

I have some cash money to bet with the fool that thinks Wreckum Peckham would pass waivers unclaimed. My money is safer than a home equity loan, err, because:

a) Oilers will not waive Peckham. b) In the unlikely event that they do, he will get picked up immediately.

Tough as nails guys who can actually play some hockey are a valuable commodity, and Peckham can thow 'em without hesitation and is signed to a nice, inexpensive contract. The Oilers need to have a mature vet (Strudwick?) take this kid under their wing and mentor them on what it takes to be an NHL player in terms of lifestyle, training, commitment, etc.

As much as the hockey purist in me loves to see a Paul Coffeyesque end to end rush for a goal, the sentimental neanderthal within craves to see the return of Dave Manson/Jason Smith style punch-in-the-face-bad-assery to the mixture.

Of the Dmen listed by Lowetide, the only ones listed above Peckham that you really expect to get their hands dirty are Strudwick and Vandermeer, neither of which are long term solutions.

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#55 hoil
July 19 2010, 01:21PM
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Aitch wrote:

This is the perfect time for Peckham.

He fights. He hits. He clears the net. He has the potential to be that nasty to play against defender. And the depth chart above of him, is downright laughable. Neither Vandemeer or Strudwick can be in the long term plans of the club. He should be coming in this year, perfecting how to put the puck off the glass, working on the PK and figuring out what he can get away with in front of the net. If the club is truly trying to re-build, they're not planning on making the playoffs this year. So, an occassional screw-up isn't going to have the same sting to it. Giving Peckham some on-job-training should pay off in the long-term, even if his ceiling is #5.

I was going to mention something about "figuring out what he can get away with" as well.

In the 2006 playoffs people mostly remember Matt Greene for the penalties he took. To some people it may have looked like he was getting called for doing exactly the same kind of thing that Jason Smith and Chris Pronger did all the time without consequence. While there was a learning curve to finding out what you can get away with before a penalty is called, it is also perceived that a raw rookie might not get the leeway accorded a respected veteran.

A development year is exactly when you want a Peckham to "get to know" the refs and what they expect from him. You might have to go over the edge before you know where it is...

As Aitch has pointed out, that theory holds true for the hockey errors as well. As Lowetide points out, there hasn't been a better time for Peckham to make his place in the NHL.

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#56 Jason Gregor
July 19 2010, 05:27PM
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Oilers just sent this out...

The Edmonton Oilers announced today they have extended their agreement with Edmonton’s leading full time hockey analyst Bob Stauffer. Stauffer will continue his duties as the colour analyst and host of all ‘Oilers on 630 CHED’ as well as host of ‘Oilers Lunch’ on The TEAM 1260. With today’s announcement that Bob Stauffer’s will anchor the Oilers radio broadcasts one half of the broadcast crew for next season is in place. The naming of a new play by play Oilers radio voice will be made later this summer.
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