Tom Gilbert And Theo Peckham Are Like Peas And Carrots

EDMONTON CANADA - NOVEMBER 19: Theo Peckham #49 of the Edmonton Oilers covers up the puck as he fights off a check by Wojtek Wolski #86 of the Phoenix Coyotes at Rexall Place November 19 2010 in Edmonton Alberta Canada. (Photo by Dale MacMillan/Getty Images)

When last we looked in on Tom Gilbert, he and Jason Strudwick were working together like oil and water.  But a closer look at Gilbert showed him to be the Oilers best defenseman, at least by the scoring chance metric.  The Oilers struggled to find any defensive pairing capable of keep their heads above water for the first quarter of the season, but against Colorado on November 25th, Tom Renney paired Gilbert with Theo Peckham and since that time the two have looked like a capable NHL pairing.

Theo Peckham's scoring chance WOWY shows the effectiveness of the pair.

# With Gilbert %
Without Gilbert %
49 38 29 0.567
53 84 0.387


Without Gilbert, Peckham has been beaten pretty badly, but while the two have been on the ice together the Oilers have slightly out-chanced.

The same goes with Gilbert.

# With Peckham % Without Peckham %
77 38 29 0.567 80 107 0.428


The duo has been on the ice for 4 goals for and 2 goals against over the last six games.  

And they aren't delivering these results by avoiding the tough competition.  Since becoming a full-time pairing, Peckham and Gilbert have faced first or second line forwards 68% of the time, even in Tom Renney's Alberta Waltz matching system. 

Opponent ESTOI Opp Line TOIA (min) Opp Line TOIA (min) Total (min) % against top two
Colorado 18.1 Duchene 8.1 Stastny 4.6 12.7 0.702
San Jose 14.6 Thornton 9.3 Pavelski 3.1 12.4 0.849
Ottawa 16.3 Spezza 5.1 Fisher 4.2 9.3 0.571
Montreal 17.8 Gomez 6.4 Plekanec 5 11.4 0.640
Toronto 16.2 Kadri 5.2 Grabovski 5.1 10.3 0.636
St. Louis 17.4 McDonald 7.1 McClement 5.5 12.6 0.724

Total 100.4

68.7 0.684


All of this comes with the obvious caveat about small sample sizes, but considering the state of the Oilers defense, a victory over a small sample size is worth a second look.

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