Today the Edmonton Oilers made the call to Springfield and brought Theo Peckham up to the big club. Pat Quinn said today that "if Mike [Comrie] can't come down to Calgary tomorrow, then there's a good chance that Jason [Strudwick] will be lined up at foward." Now, much to my chagrin, the Oilers have been using the Strudwick-Chorney pairing regularly on the PK so it will be interesting to see how Renney switches things up there. Strudwick's also been used late in games when protecting a lead. There's probably some chance that Strudwick will drop back in those situations and play both defence and forward tomorrow night against Calgary. At any rate, it will be interesting to see what Renney does with two rookies on the blueline and one of the guys he trusts (Strudwick also played quite a lot of minutes with the Rangers when Renney was the head man there) playing forward.
More on Peckham after the jump.
Theo Peckham was probably slated as the Oilers 8th defender coming into this season but wasn't the first guy to get the call from Springfield when a couple of veterans went down. The combination of an ankle injury that lasted all of training camp and a strong camp from Taylor Chorney meant that when Staios and Souray went down early the Oilers felt more comfortable going with Chorney. At this point, it seems that Peckham is now ready to go.
Theo Peckham is a nice call-up and is probably more ready for NHL action than Taylor Chorney. At this point the two of them are battling for a spot in the lineup when the Oilers have enough forwards healthy to dress Strudwick on defense (Renney seems to really like him and will almost certainly put him back in). I imagine Peckham will win this battle, especially since, with Souray and Staios out, the Oilers can use some more muscle on the back end.
Having said that, I'm considerably less bullish on Peckham than many others at this point in his career. I see him as a potential regular 5-6 defenceman where many others see a lot more. Lowetide really turned me on (don't stop the quote here) to the idea of using "comps" or comparable players to do player evaluation. The guy that I've thought of as the best comparable for Theo Peckham to this point in his career is Rick Berry. The "seal value" that was used for Peckham in Jonathan and Derek's prospect profile was Jason Smith. So let's take a look at all three of those guys from age 18 to age 21:
Theo Peckham, 6'2'' and 223 lbs, drafted in the 3rd round, 75th overall (OHL), Nov. birthday
Rick Berry, 6'2'' and 210 lbs, drafted in the 3rd round, 55th overall (WHL), Nov. birthday
Jason Smith, 6'3'' and 220 lbs, drafted in the 1st round, 18th overall (WHL), Nov. birthday
All three guys are almost exactly the same age and have similar size. Smith has a clear edge in terms of draft pedigree which suggests that he's probably going to end up having the best career of the three. In addition all three guys spent their junior hockey in the CHL.
Peckham: OHL - 67 GP: 6-9-15, -11, 236 Pims
Berry: WHL - 72 GP: 12-21-33, ?, 125 Pims
Smith: WHL - 62 GP: 9-29-38, ?, 138 Pims
So far it looks like Berry is a better comp for Smith than he is for Peckham! This speaks to how much Peckham caught up to the others in his 19 year-old season as we'll see shortly. There's also a big discrepancy here in terms of penalty minutes but that huge number has been gradually coming down for Peckham ever since.
Peckham: OHL - 53 GP: 10-25-35, -12, 173 Pims
Berry: WHL - 59 GP: 9-21-30, +10, 131 Pims
Smith: WHL - 64 GP: 14-52-66, ?, 175 Pims, played in WJC
Jason Smith is a clear step up on the other two in terms of offence (as Oiler fans remember well... that beauty winner against the Sharks in 2006 was worth a hundred times rimming it around the boards). Smith also adds to his pedigree advantage by playing for the Canadian entry at the World Junior Championships. Peckham and Berry are showing similar offence and were probably both options on the power play.
Peckham: AHL - 59 GP: 6-7-13, -14, 174 Pims, 1 NHL game
Berry: AHL - 62 GP: 2-6-8, -12, 153 Pims
Smith: AHL - 20 GP: 6-3-9, ?, 31 Pims and NHL - 41 GP: 0-5-5, +7, 43 Pims
Peckham and Berry look pretty darn close in this analysis while Jason Smith is kicking the crap out of both of them again. In terms of points, Smith is almost at .5 per game in the AHL and he played half a season with the New Jersey Devils. In order for Peckham to catch Smith he's going to need to take a huge step forward. Meanwhile, Peckham and Berry have pretty similar totals.
Peckham: AHL - 47 GP: 6-13-19, -7, 107 Pims, 15 NHL games
Berry: AHL - 64 GP: 9-16-25, -6, 148 Pims, 0 NHL games
Smith: Injured most of the season.
Peckham has a clear advantage over Berry with his 15 NHL games but their AHL numbers are still very close. In his 22 year old season Berry managed 19 NHL games. We'll see if Peckham gets many more than that this season. I think Peckham will end up somewhat above that number but I doubt he establishes himself as an NHL regular (something around 30-35 games). His time as a regular is probably next year (when he becomes eligible for waivers)... which is the exact same time that Berry had his first 60+ game season.