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).
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.