Bend ’em like Peckham

Although not technically a rookie, Theo Peckham is spending his first full season in the NHL. His impact is obvious, and he’s moving up the depth chart. 

Some of us have long thought that Theo Peckham would be an excellent Edmonton Oiler. Although we don’t like to get caught up in the difference between "5D" and "top 4D" there has been some resistance from some quarters in the past in terms of Peckham’s potential to play important minutes on an NHL hockey team.

Peckham played 21:16 at even strength last night, trailing only Tom Gilbert in minutes played straight up. Theo Peckham is as tough as nails, a real throwback. He could have played the blue 30 years ago without changing much in terms of style and attitude. He’s a willing fighter, and when the Flames laid a big hit early last night it was the kid Peckham who responded with one of his own (without taking a penalty).

HEADS UP

Opposition forwards are forced to keep their heads up when he’s around, and he can play. Pat Quinn referenced this after last season:

"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."

Peckham is building on that resume this year. He’s healthy, confident and having an impact on the roster and depth chart. In a season where we are celebrating rookies and youth, let’s not forget about Theo Peckham.

He’s developing into a useful NHL hockey player.

  • I’ve always liked Peckham.. a lot. I’m a big fan of players that play a strong physical brand of hockey though. But that said, I kind of figured that Peckham would still be 2 or so years away from being an impact player (his impact being solid defense and physical play), and it looks like he is closer than that. He’s been a bruising force out there, and hasn’t been a big liability on defense (especially when compared to everyone save for Smid).

    • Reggie

      Peckham has 18 hits (21st among dmen), 18 blocks (24th among dmen) …

      Pretty good ranking for a small sample size given he’s only play 6 games. Most dmen have played about 8 games.

      Peckham is also tied with Gagner and Hemsky for the Oiler lead in plus minus with +2.

      The sample size is small, but he’s definitely getting the job done so far. More than just 1 good game to get this done.

      Foster: 25 shots tied for the league lead by dmen with Chara, Montador, Phanuef. Foster is a big fat -4 tied with Hall for the worst on the Oilers. He has 1G, 1A.

      Whitney: 8 pts tied for second with Letang, Lidstrom, Visnovsky, Wisniewski. Liles leads with 11 pts. Whitney is even. 18 blocks.

      Smid is +1 with 13 hits and 12 blocks, Gilbert is +1 and 17 blocks, Vandermeer even, Strudwick -2

  • ubermiguel

    @ ashley; lots of good points.

    RE: Smid; is it me or does he play well with the puck, but without it he seems lost? I’ve been impressed with his stickhandling under pressure and he always seems to make the right play when the puck is on his stick. But I notice he’s in bad spots for a lot of goals against.

  • Dan the Man

    Do we finally have Regher 2.0 here. A tough nosed Eddie Shore old time hockey mean SOB who could is looking to hit like a Mac Truck with heavy load. I am as excited about the development of Peckham as the kids. When was the last time we had a guy who is looking to unload on a winger trying to come down the wing, or a guy cutting across the middle. I hope we are seeing the development of a beauty. I can`t wait till he unloads on Iginla, and we get the pleasure of reading Iggy`s lips as he says those three little words, WT@. Then for sure we`ll know Peckham`s arrived.

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

    Re Peckham

    Do not mean to piss on anyone’s cornflakes but the comments that Peckham is one of our best defensemen are premature.

    Peckham is doing a pretty good job mostly on our third pairing as he works his way up to the second oair. He has not yet played much against the other teams better forwards so it is tough to make a fair comparison.

    I like the kid. I particularly like what he is doing with hitting and toughness but lets see him play 6-8 minutes against Jumbo Joe, Heatley and Marleau before anointing him as one of our best D men

    • PattQuinn'sChesthair

      I kind of agree, in limited minutes Peckam’s toughness is a real asset, but he looked in over his head last night. Giveaways were horrid last night. Probably not getting much help from his partner but I really didn’t think Theo looked that good last night.

    • The way players are being rolled out there he is getting plenty of tough minutes. Check the qualcomp numbers for the season so far. It’s an admittedly small sample size, but the numbers are interesting.

      Nobody is anointing him anything. People are just happy to see him progressing and they are commenting on how he has looked so far this season.

  • Reggie

    Peckham has been fine. The real question is why is Vandermeer and Struds still on the active roster. We also don’t need this three headed goalie monster again.

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

    I knew my Whitney comments wouldn’t be popular, but I see what I see, and it’s different from what we’re commonly talking about here or Matheson’s recent article. Funny thing about NHL hockey players; the ones that speak well and say all the right things get the benefit of the doubt independent of what happens on the ice. Every journalist likes to talk to a guy that responds to questions like Whitney does.

    Regarding playing time, yes he gets a lot, but I suspect that will be scaled back as the season progresses given his performance to date, and that will be the first *tell* that things are going south. To be honest though, Renney does not have a lot of options. On this team, Whitney is still the third best option out there, but that is not saying a lot. He’s a third pairing defenseman on any other team.

    We don’t have to debate this here and now, time will tell where this young man’s career goes, but I suspect that all of our expectations likely need tempering.

    • Reggie

      Ashley, you may not see Whitney as good as some do, but saying that he’s a third pairing dman is an exaggeration IMHO.

      I’d say Whitney would be a #2 or #3 guy. Or in a pessimists eye #4. Gilbert a #3 or #4 guy. Smid a #5, Peckham a #5 or 6, Foster #6 … with Struds not playing anywhere in the league. And Vandermeer is a #7.

      My younger bro was complaining about Whitney and his mistakes (that was even before yesterday’s game), I know he didn’t look as good last night.

      I told him, he’s doing all they have asked of him. Big minutes, ok +/- and getting points. The best way to improve his overall game is to cut back on his minutes and some of the bumps in his game will disappear.

    • D-Man

      Although you’re right – Whitney isn’t a bonafide #1 defence (yet), he’s at least a #3 on any other team, belonging on the second pair. He is definitely better than apart of a 3rd pairing.

      Whitney is the third best option out there?? Behind who?? Foster has a great shot, but no foot speed… Gilbert has more offensive flair, but no physicality… Peckham is still working his way up the “d” depth chart, and Smid has shown some promise that he could be a #4 shutdown defense.

      Not sure you and I are watching the same game out there, but I guess you’re right that we’ll see what happens throughout this season and the next.

    • Crackenbury

      207 points in 361 games would make me think he is better than a #3 guy.

      He may not be a “complete” defenseman, but he would be in the top pair of almost every team in the league.

      And….

      HE IS ONLY 27 YEARS OLD!!!!

  • Gerald R. Ford

    I hope everyone is as patient with Peckham as we’ve all vowed to be with the young forwards, because he could really turn out to be a valuable asset. Yes, he’s still a diamond in the rough, but, at least, when he *wants* to make a difference, he *can*. Can’t say that about all our blueliners.

    BTW, anyone see the Oilers doughnut they sell at Timmy Ho’s on gamedays? Now, that’s the way to fly the ON flag proudly. The best patriotism is delicious patriotism.

  • Crackenbury

    What’s with all the talk about Whitney? 5th in the league in minutes played. 2nd in defenceman scoring. Even +/- on a losing team.

    With 30 teams in the league that leaves 60 defenceman to be considered a top pairing. Anyone that thinks Whitney falls outside of that needs to have their head examined, never mind calling him a third pairing. What a joke.

  • D-Man

    I agree we probably don’t have any Norris quality D… Whitney and Gilbert and even Vandermeer are likely overpaid although nothing like a certain Edmontonian on Calgary’s D.

  • D-Man

    Let say Peckham developes into the player Oilers fans all want him to be. A player similar to say Scott Stevens. I pose a hypothetical equation:

    Theo Peckham in 2010 = Scott Stevens in 1984

    Therefore:

    Peckham will be at his prime around 2020. That would be the equivalent to the year Stevens earned his first ring.

    There are a lot of variables to consider but for arguements sake, it seems a while down the road.

  • Ender

    Zed

    Seriously man, never ever again mention Peckham and Scott Stevens as comparables. Wow! Just don’t.

    Because the next thing you know somebody will want to compare Taylor Chorney and Bobby Orr. It is a similar argument. Yes Orr has 2 legs- Taylor Chorney – has 2 as well; Orr 2 arms, -TC – ditto, offensive defensemen-both again fit that mode.

  • D-Man

    @ Zed:

    I know you were talking about development curve, but let’s not mention Stevens as a Peckham comparable. At 23, Peckham’s breaking into the league as a regular; at 23 Stevens scored 61 points for the Capitals.

    I’m bullish on Peckham, but a Jason Smith-like career is probably the most optimistic I’d be.

    • VMR

      Yeah that sounds about right and you have to remember that Smith ended up in Edmonton after being run out of Toronto for mistakes in his own end. So it wont be all roses with Peckham but he does bring an aggresive quality we desperately need on the blueline.

  • Crackenbury

    On Whitney:

    He’s probably not an Oiler when we next make the playoffs or become competitive. However he’ll log lots of minutes, score some points, and be more of an asset that Visnovski in 2.5 years time when it’s either time to re-up or trade him.

    It’s not fair to evaluate him straight-up based on who he was traded for; we obtained years and cap space in the deal as well.

    Visnovsky, a force on the power-play, is an ugly -6 already this year.

    • D-Man

      Fair points – but I think Whitney will be around when we make the playoffs… I think his contract is up 2013/2014… Playoffs should be expected in that time frame. Whitney would only get better, and hopefully, we’ll have a couple of our current “d” prospects panning out.

      The only issue that hasn’t been resolved around that time would be our goaltending. We might have four goalies on our active roster, if our current trend continues…

    • Ender

      I hope you’re right about the amount of time Whitney still has in the bank. While I respect your thought process regarding Whitney VS Visnovsky, I’m not as sold on Whitney’s health in general and his bionic feet in particular as most others here. I hope that if people are comparing him to Forsberg this time next year, they’re discussing his shot and not his vibrant spirit in the face of crippling injury.

      • Crash

        Ender,

        I suppose what I mean to say is that seeing as how Visnovsky is at his age a “depreciating asset”, whether Whitney wins a Norris Trophy or whether his career is over by Christmas (which seems unlikely for a guy playing 20+ minutes a night), we won’t LOSE the trade in the long run.

        Visnovsky is a better player for a team now, which is moot because we’re in the losing business, not the winning business.

        Weird, eh.

        We win the trade if he stays healthy enough, or if we unlaod him to another team for a valuable asset.

  • VMR

    I have long enjoyed Peckham as a player. I foresee a Regher future for him, better than Jason Smith, but no Stevens.
    Tough, and once he gets the handle on his own zone, he will be brutal to play against. Decent at moving the puck, doesnt just rim it out like J Smith used to.

  • VMR

    TP

    To see a Regehr future he would have to be in consideration for the Canadian Olympic team. Which is where Reghr is- top ten – twelve D man with a Canadian passport. Peckham is never going to be our best D man or, if he is, we are not competing for the SC with this core group of forwards. So I think Regehr is a stretch

    Willis’ Jason Smith comparable is a very good defenseman and played shutdown minutes very effectively in 06 final

  • BBOil

    Watching the game last night, I liked what Pecks brought. Had some issues when the puck was on his stick, but as I watched him play, I thought about what SM said about Gudbranson in Oil Change. I’m not comparing the two by any stretch, but do we have another Theo Peckham anywhere in the system?

    As a matter of fact, I don’t think many teams have that sort of aggressive, physical, in your face D-man anymore. As such I see him as an asset worth giving every opportunity to develop, especially considering one of the negatives consistently brought up about this team is our lack of size and how easy we are to play against. For me, Theo is a step in the right direction.

  • book¡e

    I think we are wussified.

    The fact that I was so impressed/surprised to see someone in an Oiler sweater hit someone is demonstrative of a clear problem on this team.

  • Ducey

    Whitney has acknowledged (Journal article) that he is adjusting to playing close to 30 minutes a night. He said he was learning how to take it easy some shifts like Pronger.

    Considering he is playing all special teams and likely against the other teams best forwards, he is likely going to have some adjustment period and is going to have some times where he is just exhausted.