February 10 2013 09:57AM
Theo Peckham was drafted by the Edmonton Oilers shortly after the 2006 Stanley run. Edmonton didn't have a first round pick, there was very little information available on their second rounder (some kid named Jeff Petry, his Dad pitched for the Tigers) so Peckham got a lot of attention on the blogs and in the newspapers. Since then, it's been a wild ride, sometimes blacktop sometimes the ditch. When we met him, his nickname was "Wreckum." As it turns out, that may be an apt description of his career.
A BRIEF HISTORY
(all OKC photos by Rob Ferguson, all rights reserved).
Peckham turned pro in 2007 fall, and it didn't take him long to move up the depth chart.
- Craig MacTavish spring 2008: “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.”
In the NHL, Theo Peckham has had some good days. As a rookie Peckham played tougher minutes than one would think for a player of his experience. He did it while playing with Tom Gilbert 48% of the time at evens (tough minutes) and had the toughest zone start--so for Peckham to emerge with his CorsiRel at -6.6 and a -5 overall (and allowing a major dollop for luck) that’s still a solid year.
It has been a struggle. Peckham played softer opposition (with poorer results) last season and moved down the depth chart. Then Peckham arrived at this year's camp after what must have been a pretty incredible Christmas with health and or fitness issues. Whatever his transgressions, Peckham finds himself this morning looking up at an Oklahoma sky.
WHAT'S GOOD ABOUT HIM?
Peckham is tough, fearless and a little off plumb (and I mean that in a good way). He’s learning the position and has shown the ability to play effectively when paired with a strong (Gilbert) defender. He has also played about 150 NHL games, which is about the period if often takes for defensemen to start playing consistently (hello Ladislav Smid).
There are two things on a collision course here in regard to Peckham: Edmonton has him on their roster (he is one of 8 defenders) and when they've exhausted the rehab Peckham will join the Oilers or be traded/waived.
The other item is the thing that has kept him from being with the club. If it was a fitness/injury issue, then Peckham will join the team and they'll run with 8 defenders until such time as someone/something changes the number.
If there's something else--some disconnect that goes beyond what this looks like--then Peckham might end up in another NHL town in the next couple of weeks. I'm not privy to the inner workings of the Oilers and don't have access to the powers that be, but the power of observation tells me that there's something here that doesn't add up.
In a recent article at the Cult of Hockey, Jonathan Willis had this to say about Peckham's 2013 OKC debut:
- Theo Peckham. Peckham played a solid game, and looked really good with the puck, both with and without pressure – something I took as a positive sign. He had one great hit on Trevor Parkes and another sequence where he got set for some rough stuff after the whistle but the guy on the other end of the exchange thought better of it. He also picked up an assist on a heavy shot that was tipped in by Philippe Cornet. He and partner Martin Marincin enjoyed a great night by scoring chances (the Barons won 4-3 but dominated much of the game, including pretty much all of the third period). On the negative side: he didn’t seem to be moving all that fast.
Sounds to me as though we should expect a recall soon based on performance.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
Even if the Oilers do recall Peckham, they have a very similar player in Mark Fistric now on the roster. I'd guess that the Oilers will eventually move him, perhaps as early as this week or the trade deadline. Whatever the issues, it would seem a fresh start might be best for all involved.
As Craig MacTavish once said about Brad Winchester (as the club sent him away), perhaps Theo needs a second opinion.