Wondering (the Blue)

Lowetide
July 05 2011 05:21PM

It's been an outstanding 12 months for Theo Peckham. He scored an opening night assignment on the big club and played a more prominent role than expected during 10-11, and then cashed in as an rfa with a raise that nearly doubled his salary. What can Peckham's season--training camp through this past week and his contract--tell us about this fall's battle along the blue? A lot.  

When it came to cutdown time last fall, Theo Peckham was not an obvious choice to make the Oilers. He was in tough against the usual competition, but what made a difference for him was the fact that Peckham had to be placed on waivers in order to be sent down.

Early in the season, the Oilers were running Peckham heavily at even strength. After 4 games, here was the EV playing time for the top 6:

EVEN STRENGTH PLAYING TIME, GAMES 1-4

  1. Ryan Whitney 69
  2. Tom Gilbert 65
  3. Theo Peckham 60
  4. Ladislav Smid 60
  5. Kurtis Foster 57
  6. Jim Vandermeer 56

Pretty even by any metric, but that alone is fairly damning of Kurtis Foster even this early in the season. The kid Peckham is getting more playing time at even strength, and it would continue. And after 4 games, Peckham was struggling at even strength (as one would expect from a rookie player tougher than expected minutes). Here are Dennis King's even strength for and against scoring chances for the group through 4 games:

DENNIS KING SCORING CHANCES

  1. Tom Gilbert 24-15 (.615)
  2. Ladislav Smid 18-13 (.581)
  3. Ryan Whitney 18-22 (.450)
  4. Theo Peckham 13-21 (.382)
  5. Jim Vandermeer 13-22 (.371)
  6. Kurtis Foster 12-21 (.364)

Peckham is struggling (as we should expect) but veterans Vandermeer and Foster are struggling more. Through the entire season, Peckham continued to play tougher minues than some of the veterans despite a final Corsi number that trailed the group.

Looking at the final stats, Peckham played more even strength minutes than both Vandermeer and Foster, Desjardins behind the net tells us his Qual Comp was second behind Tom Gilbert for the year. Here, let's break that out:

10-11 QUAL COMP, OILERS BLUE (5x5)

  1. Tom Gilbert .044
  2. Theo Peckham .023
  3. Ryan Whitney .016
  4. Ladislav Smid .005
  5. Jeff Petry -.033
  6. James Vandermeer -.047
  7. Jason Strudwick -.080
  8. Kurtis Foster -.080

10-11 CORSI REL, OILERS BLUE (5x5)

  1. Tom Gilbert 6.0
  2. James Vandermeer 4.9
  3. Ladislav Smid 2.3
  4. Kurtis Foster 2.0
  5. Jeff Petry 2.0
  6. Ryan Whitney 0.6
  7. Theo Peckham -6.6
  8. Jason Strudwick -17.5

7 CONLUSIONS WE CAN REACH

  1. Don't let anyone tell you Tom Gilbert is a poor even strength defenseman. Toughest competition, fine Corsi Rel for this team and miles ahead of Ryan Whitney. Sometimes luck screws over the facts and leaves them in a ditch. This is the story of Gilbert's -14. He sawed off the toughs and sent the puck in the right direction but the results were poor. No matter, if he does this again (and he's a very good bet to do it) everyone will be raving about him this time next year.
  2. Theo Peckham survived a tough season. He should not have been moved up the depth chart, but the absence of alternatives clears the mind. When we look back on his first full season, let's remember that he played some tough hombres when more veteran alternatives were available. It will be interesting to see how coach Renney uses him in 11-12.
  3. Ryan Whitney had a fine season (well, half-season) but the club is not without quality elsewhere. The worry for Whitney is that the club needs his skills for more games in 11-12. If he can duplicate this season--and I don't mean posting points like he did, that's too much to expect--and play over 70 games the Oilers blue should be much better.
  4. Ladislav Smid played in the top 4 quite a bit and had some good results. Injuries are a worry because he doesn't have what you might call typical survival instincts, and offense is a distant bell. However, he has shown improvement and may be able to help in a support role.
  5. Jeff Petry should be able to push Taylor Chorney out of the way with little effort. Bob Stauffer was talking today on Oilers Lunch about a battle for an NHL spot between Petry, Chorney and new hire Corey Potter. I don't see it, even if Chorney needs to clear waivers and Petry doesn't. The overwhelming evidence has Petry as being the much better player. Overwhelming.
  6. James Vandermeer, Jason Strudwick and Kurtis Foster are gone for a reason: they weren't good enough, and that is made obvious by Theo Peckham's spot on the Qual Comp list.
  7. Steve Tambellini can do his NHL team a huge favor by adding an actual NHL defenseman. Not a reclamation project and not an older hire who can mentor the third pairing, but a guy in the heart of his career with mobility and ability.
C2a6955161684b5e3189319acfa5ebe4
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 Team 1260.
Avatar
#51 shau_co
July 06 2011, 08:25AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

I actually like the Gilbert - Smid pairing for our second unit.

What we really need is a 1A or No. 2 defensman to play with Whitney.

Then we could see Peckham and Barker as our 3rd pairing and Sutton as our No. 7.

Avatar
#52 shau_co
July 06 2011, 08:26AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Cogliano + (Chorney or Plante)

for

Wideman

Make it happen!!

Avatar
#53 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
July 06 2011, 08:35AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
3
cheers
BlacqueJacque wrote:

I say this completely without exaggeration:

Say we had Pavel Datsyuk. Imagine that he developed as well with us as he did with Detroit. Except, that unlike with Detroit, he didn't have the supporting cast, or the luck, or the coaching, and never won the Cup. Maybe we made Game 7 in '06, maybe not, doesn't matter.

A significant and loud group of Oilers fans would HATE him. Hate him for not hitting, hate him for not going into corners and winning board battles, hate him for not scoring 40 goals and 110 points.

"Sure, he scores a bit, but he's soft."

"He's too small to be a #1C, he's a second liner at best."

"An under-sized Joe Thornton. Assists galore in the regular season, disappears in the big show."

"He'd never get 90 points if Smytty wasn't popping in ugly goals left and right."

Those would be the comments we'd hear about Pavel Datsyuk, Edmonton Oiler. Arguably the greatest centre of the latter 2000s when you consider the complete game he delivers on both ends, and I am absolutely certain that we'd have a sizeable minority if not outright majority who'd ship him out for Patrick Marleau, Joe Thornton, or Heatley, because they're all bigger and thus, more "physical".

Nicely done!

I always laugh when people say the Oilers have one of the smartest fan bases, if that were the case I'd hate to see what the dumbest fan bases have to say.

Avatar
#54 raretomediumrare
July 06 2011, 09:08AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

I would love to get Alzner. Tambo should get on the phones or toss out an offer sheet. Shultz's contract is too long for what we need...

Avatar
#55 dawgbone98
July 06 2011, 09:28AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
3
cheers
Oilcruzer wrote:

Grrr...

I am no Peckham Fanboy but these King Dennis stats and Jim Corsi stats are !@#$%^ useless when they overlook the one key element that a guy like the Peck brings to the game...

...being that he can cause wingers to pull up lest they shat their pants after a bone crushing hit.

So until that measures into this, it's only part of the picture.

And as others have pointed out, if the G-man would get a little eau de Curt Brackenbury in his game *with googley eyes and all*, that would only help he and his teamies as well.

Not having an edge in your D man game is no diff than playing a soft neutral zone - makes it easy for wingers to take passes and skate through transition.

Edit: "Oh look, an edit button" (classic... and props to whoever said that!)

Umm... wouldn't that be reflected in the scoring chances and corsi?

If what you are saying is true and that Peckham literally puts the fear of God into anyone foolish enough to enter his domain, wouldn't that bear out in his numbers?

If people were scared to play the game with him on the ice, wouldn't the scoring chances against him go down? Wouldn't the shots against him go down?

Avatar
#56 dawgbone98
July 06 2011, 09:57AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
1
cheers
DSF wrote:

Perhaps if there was some "math" that involved coughing up the puck to avoid a hit/multiplied by GVA, we could get an accurate assessment of Gilbert.

Alas, we'll have to suffice with the current "math" which suggests Gilbert is a league leader in GVA although he is proficient at having pucks heading to the net after said GVA hitting him in the nether regions or glancing off his "active stick".

But that would involve "seeing him good" which apparently is verboten.

Are you suggesting Gilbert gives away the puck more often (factoring in ice time and arena bias) than other defencemen who lead their team in minutes played?

Avatar
#57 Chris.
July 06 2011, 10:55AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F wrote:

Nicely done!

I always laugh when people say the Oilers have one of the smartest fan bases, if that were the case I'd hate to see what the dumbest fan bases have to say.

Datsyuk? Isn't it Nissan? Let's talk about the Clemmens trial or the NBA lockout.

Avatar
#58 Quicksilver ballet
July 06 2011, 11:56AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
BlacqueJacque wrote:

I say this completely without exaggeration:

Say we had Pavel Datsyuk. Imagine that he developed as well with us as he did with Detroit. Except, that unlike with Detroit, he didn't have the supporting cast, or the luck, or the coaching, and never won the Cup. Maybe we made Game 7 in '06, maybe not, doesn't matter.

A significant and loud group of Oilers fans would HATE him. Hate him for not hitting, hate him for not going into corners and winning board battles, hate him for not scoring 40 goals and 110 points.

"Sure, he scores a bit, but he's soft."

"He's too small to be a #1C, he's a second liner at best."

"An under-sized Joe Thornton. Assists galore in the regular season, disappears in the big show."

"He'd never get 90 points if Smytty wasn't popping in ugly goals left and right."

Those would be the comments we'd hear about Pavel Datsyuk, Edmonton Oiler. Arguably the greatest centre of the latter 2000s when you consider the complete game he delivers on both ends, and I am absolutely certain that we'd have a sizeable minority if not outright majority who'd ship him out for Patrick Marleau, Joe Thornton, or Heatley, because they're all bigger and thus, more "physical".

Seen the football version of this response on the placemats at the Holiday Inn Express last week, did you enjoy your stay there as well?

Avatar
#59 Pucker
July 06 2011, 01:26PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
Lowetide wrote:

lol. It's one of those lightning rod issues with Oiler fans, isn't it?

Judging by props & such, it's good to see the silent-majority sticking up for Gilbert.

He's an asset to the organization and it would be shame if the fickle Oiler fans 'Poti'd' him out of town.

Avatar
#60 Dennis
July 06 2011, 04:36PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Cam Barker may just be a very rick poor man's Marc Andre Bergeron.

Avatar
#61 DSF
July 06 2011, 06:56PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
dawgbone98 wrote:

Are you suggesting Gilbert gives away the puck more often (factoring in ice time and arena bias) than other defencemen who lead their team in minutes played?

Yes I am.

The three top giveaway artists in the NHL among defensemen were 1)Schenn 2) Beauchemin and 3)Gilbert.

Your "arena bias" is poppycock since it will largely be smoothed over a full season and you can't quantify it in any case.

Gilbert was 17th in TOI/G among defensemen.

Gilbert was tagged with 87 giveaways last season.

Jack Johnson, for example, a player who is not renowned for his defensive prowess, was tagged with 59.

Difference in icetime about 1 minute/game.

Avatar
#62 andrewmk20
July 07 2011, 02:16AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@BlacqueJacque

I take issue with that statement. Mostly due to the fact that Datsyuk does go to the tough areas of the ice consistently. Think Ales Hemsky with significantly more hockey IQ. His ability to roll off checks and his great balance help him take possession of the puck in the corner battles.

And to address the issue of the hypothetical theory of "what if Datsyuk was an Oiler" I'm sure he would have detractors , much like every single NHL player has in the league. People/Fans love to complain as much as they love to boast about their clubs. And no player is perfect, everyone has a weakness. But like every other public arena where anyone can voice their opinion there are going to be idiots. Doesn't matter what town or team, there are always going to be people like madjam or eklund. San Jose has Marleau and Thorton and look at how many people complain about them, does that mean that San Jose boasts the biggest idiot fans in the league? Marleau and Thorton are great players and their accomplishments put them in a select group when you're talking about this generation of players like Datsyuk, Ovechkin, Crosby, Kovalchuk, Nash, etc. etc.

Heck I'm complaining to you now about how I have issue about your complaint. People complain, get over it.

Comments are closed for this article.