Fans will get a look at the future tonight when defenceman Theo Peckham draws into the line-up against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena. With Mathieu Roy hurting after getting steamrolled by Nashville’s Jordin Tootoo yet again, Peckham was recalled from Springfield of the AHL and it was anticipated he might spell off Roy.
I just spoke with Rod Phillips in Columbus and he confirmed that will indeed be the case—the 20-year-old banger will make his NHL debut tonight. Who Peckham will play with isn’t certain because the Oilers didn’t run defensive pairings at their pre-game skate this morning. If Peckham draws straight in for Roy, it would be alongside Denis Grebeshkov, leaving Steve Staios with Joni Pitkanen and Tom Gilbert paired with Matt Greene. Again, though, these pairings will remain speculation until coach Craig MacTavish rolls out his line-up tonight.
While I don’t expect too much from Peckham in terms of ice time or performance—debuts by rookies are seldom memorable—it’ll be interesting to get a glimpse of the six-foot-two, 225-pound rearguard. Peckham, drafted 75th overall from Owen Sound of the OHL in 2006, is big and raw and he needs a lot of rough edges knocked off, but he brings unquestionable grit and toughness—something the Oilers lack. He piled up 618 penalty minutes in 181 career games with Owen Sound and he got the call in Springfield with 6-4-10 and 114 PIM in 42 games with the Falcons. Peckham’s a work-in-progress for sure, and that progress begins tonight.
GAME DAY… Marc Pouliot will also draw in tonight in place of Geoff Sanderson, who has a cranky back and is coming off a minus-3 night in a 5-1 loss to Nashville… Pouliot will centre the fourth line between Curtis Glencross and Zack Stortini… With Pouliot at pivot with Glencross and Stortini, Kyle Brodziak will move up to the third line and play left wing with Marty Reasoner and Fernando Pisani.
—Listen to Robin Brownlee every Thursday from 4 to 5 p.m. on Total Sports with Bob Stauffer on Team 1260.