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.


(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.


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.


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.

  • Zamboni Driver

    I’d say the same for Ryan Whitney. The 2 of them both need a second opinion. Theo has brought disaster upon himself in no way that was anyone’s fault except himself. Under the heading of “I am entitled now I don’t have to work hard category”. Theo needs a rethink as to what his goal is visa vi a hockey career. He has had ample opportunity to prove himself to the coaching staff.

    Ryan Whitney is in need of a change of location as badly as Theo is at this time. Fistric fills one role on that pairing but perhaps a guy like Yandle is more what we need. Phoenix needs to find some scoring depth up front and we need to find another dman not named Justin Shultz to carry 25-28 minutes a night. Perhaps a package deal is available.

    The NHL still owns that team and would look favorably on trading for an expiring contract for one that would reduce next years salary cap by 5 million dollars. In exchange for Whitney and perhaps some other prospects and picks.

    • Lowetide

      Good points. Peckham’s role can clearly be covered by Fistric, but they’d need another player type for Whitney. Marincin may one day be a puck moving NHL player, but if they’re going to flush Whitney (and Robin Brownlee just tweeted he’s a healthy scratch) then someone like Streit or Lubo would/should be coming our way.

  • Where's Your Towel

    I’m not sure about Yandle as a solution for our defensive woes. I haven’t looked in depth, but I’m not sure he’s a popular pick in pools that include +/-.

  • Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!

    They can’t trade him!

    As a fat, lazy AHLer, he’s still better than Whitney and Potter combined. Plus, I’ll sob like a teenage girl if Teddy is traded.

    But if he is, the return is Crosby or bust! I’m not mentally equipped to deal with Tom Gilbert trade 2.0 again.

    • Hair bag

      However unlike Ryan Whitney waiting for the possibility of him returning to form doesn’t have the same gains. If Whitney returns to form he becomes what Markov is for Montreal and that is a veteran offensive puck moving dman who can log 20 mins/game. Fistric covers Peckham’s role and he moves better in his own end which allows for more consistent contact play and Fistric doesn’t allow as much of a gap between him and his target because he’s more confident in his footwork. Also year to year the 5th to 8th spot depth dman are much easier to find in the off-season than dmen like the pre-injury Whitney.

  • RexLibris

    Forget Yandle, can we somehow work out a trade to get Ekman-Larsson? He and Schultz would be a defensive pair the rest of the league would dream about.

    I love the idea of a trade with Phoenix and have been kicking around possibilities in my head for some time now. The NHL ownership aspect is an opportunity waiting to be exploited. I’m not especially convinced that this is Tambellini’s forte, but Lowe has a history of getting creative with trades and MacTavish knows his way around an organization. Perhaps the three of them could figure something out?

  • kawi460

    don’t trade teddy =(

    He’s only similar to fistric in the fact they hit. The oilers are a soft team and can use his bully skills. At least give him a shot. would much rather see Potter on the way out than Peckham.

  • When Teddy Peckman is ready they will trade Whitney to an EC team with poor pro scouting and/or a bad powerplay that needs help.

    BOS has enough good D to shelter him and he’s a Boston boy. BOS has the worst PP in the league in terms of conversion rate.

    Rags have enough good D as well and is 28th in PP.

    • RexLibris

      You speak of course of trading Whitney for Doug Hamilton. Right?

      Seriously, I had wondered about Whitney to Boston as well. He could fill a need, to some extent, and they have the ability to bury him comfortably. The Oilers could even eat half the salary if Chiarelli wants to go on a buying spree at the deadline.

      Fair return? A 2nd round pick?

  • RexLibris

    Three reasons Oilers don;t need Peckham:

    1. Too slow for the NHL.
    2. Out of shape.. always
    3. Limited Hockey I Q.

    I dont think this guy wants to work on his short comings in the off season, would rather pound down quarter pounders. He;s not a kid anymore and he should have been getting closer to his prime,but he’s not.

    Its to bad I like his toughness [ although a lot of dumb penalties came with it ] but he as regressed as opposed to developed. You have to want it.

  • kawi460

    This whole fitness thing is a little overrated! Look at big Bufg……..the guy looks like he just ate a department store, and can still skate, hit, and score.

    I like Theo because he is an honest player who hits hard without taking a lot of penalties.

  • Zamboni Driver

    I guess that’s the definition of ‘blind faith’. Every single fringe player…and Peckham really dreams of being a fringe player (also DQ Blizzards).

    On a team that went LAST-LAST-SECOND LAST has someone ‘who really likes him’.

    Change is okay, boys.

    You’ll find blindly in love with someone new.

    Yanno, I really think that Alex Plante guy is just misunderstood. I really like him!

  • RexLibris

    GDB Please 🙂

    We need these points today, i am expecting
    a substantial offensive outburst today by the OIL.

    This could be the kick start we need, but, this game
    worried me more than the Red Wings, Please
    bring it today boys.

  • toprightcorner

    What worries me about Peckham is that he has the ability to be a regular NHL player but clearly does not have the drive. He has a choice to make $100K per year or $900k per year and all he needs to do is stay in shape, work out, focus and do exactly what he is told and he cant seem to do it.

    Hey, I could lose some weight and be in better shape but it is tough to do, if that is all I had to do to make a $1 mill per year, they couldnt kick me out of the gym if they tried.

    If that doesnt give him the commitment and drive then nothing will, so I would have to say pass.

  • Where's Your Towel

    Everyone but Pecks seemed to know what a critical point in his career this past off-season was. I don’t have a lot of faith in him.

    Nice guy, no drive. No thank you.

  • OilersBrass

    Losing Peckham one way or another will never come back
    to haunt us. Time to move on is right, not worth anymore
    key strokes to tell you the truth.

    Do something Theo or get lost.
    Cold comment maybe , but come on man !

  • I am perhaps being irrational about this but it feels like a very bad thing to let go of Wreckum Peckham.

    Fistric hits but doesn’t fight. Peckham is youngish too and does both. It feels wrong to 1. trade away a d-man given our defensive woes and 2. trade a tough character given our softness.

    Are we certain he would be claimed on waivers?

    Is he the least valuable player taking up a spot on the roster? Surely there are others who can be swept under the rug before him?

    I’ve got all the time in the world for Teddy. Pretty sure all he needs to do is switch to #49. Poof! Stanley Cup!

    No offense to Hordi but are we really keeping him over Peckham?

      • I think Peckham would get plucked off waivers. 150 games into his NHL career, that’s when these guys often figure it out. jmo.

        And that’s precisely why I would do whatever it took to give him a little more time. It’s a tough situation for sure: which of the four 6/7th d-men do you go forward with?

        I wish it was later in the year and we knew where we stood in terms of playoffs or not.

        • Lowetide

          I deal Whitney, or send down Potter. I’m fairly certain neither of them are going to be part of the future, and both of them are having a tough time helping right now.

  • Lowetide

    How does a professional athlete come into any camp out of shape especially a 6 7 defenseman. I shake my head at these lazy kids that don’t understand how much of a privilege it is to play any professional sport. Who cares what he brings to the team, he doesn’t respect the sport. Get rid of him.

    • I saw Theo last summer and he looked freakin’ ripped. My guess is he was ready to go – in September.

      It doesn’t take much for some athletes to fall off the fitness train, especially guys with bigger bodies and quirky metabolisms. He didn’t play this fall (not sure why – maybe the insurance thing) and that could have had alot to do with it.

      • Lowetide

        I get what ur saying but we are talking about a player that has all the resources that money can buy to make these players in top physical shape. To me it’s up to the player and how bad he wants to be a full time starter in a professional sport. Peckam is not mentally strong

  • FTR – maybe we should stop talking about trading Whitney. Not sure if anybody has noticed, but he’s basically untradeable in his current state. You can ponder all you want about sucker teams that don’t do their diligence, but it’s a pretty sure bet that if a bunch of fans posting on the internet can figure out he’s done, actual NHL teams who do this sort of thing for a living have figured it out too.

    Whitney’s biggest fear isn’t getting waived. It’s that nobody will pick him up. My guess is he’s crapping his pants right about now.

  • Reading a lot of comments here and if you go back a few years it sure sounds like what a lot of people used to say about Matt Greene.

    The stupid penalties (I used to call the penalty box The Greene Room) , slow foot speed (yep that was Greene too) , low hockey IQ (yep) , big and tough (yep and yep).

    • WinterNightSky

      IMO, the differences between Greene and Peckham are conditioning (obviously) and how deserved their penalties are. I remember always being amazed by how many penalties Greene took just for bodychecking. He was always being called for roughing, and for no good reason by my eye. Peckham, on the other hand, is one of those goons who earns his penalties, and I frequently encourage the refs to get him off the ice.

      I love him on the PK, but he can’t play with the puck and he can’t keep his head. If he has any trade value at all, do it.