Make no mistake, Theo Peckham wants to remain a member of the Edmonton Oilers and the organization would love nothing more than for the bruising defenceman to relocate his game from the 2010-2011 campaign. By agreeing to a one year contract, that will see him earn $1.075 million, it seems likely that he will get the opportunity to do just that. However, the signing of Peckham means the chances of fellow defenceman Corey Potter making the squad come 2012-2013, are highly unlikely.
With the addition of Justin Schultz into the Oilers paper thin blueline, an available bottom pairing spot has become no guarantee for anyone from last season's roster. Barring any sort of deal involving one of Edmonton's top five D men, the likely names that will hold down those roles would be:
Ryan Whitney, Ladislav Smid, Jeff Petry, Justin Schultz and Nick Schultz
That leaves nothing but depth roles for the likes of Peckham, Potter and veteran Andy Sutton, which is exactly the roles they should be playing in. All three are signed to deals for the coming season and if the Oilers decide to make another move to upgrade their blueline, Peckham or Potter could very well find themselves as part of a package going the other way. Both bring elements to a game that most teams would love to add to their roster but neither have been able to produce that game on a consistent basis.
In Potter, you have a player who's heavy shot and cheap salary ($775,000 cap hit for the next two years) make him somewhat attractive but his inconsistency in his own end makes him a high risk option. After an outstanding start to the 2011-2012 campaign, Potter came back to earth and was arguably Edmonton's worst regular blueliner, during the second half of the season.
While he doesn't have any real value in a trade, he is the type of player an organization may take a chance on...especially if they need help on the power play. Having said that, it wouldn't be too much of a stretch to suggest that Ryan Nugent-Hopkins played quite a big role in Corey picking up eleven of his twenty-points points with the Oilers on the man advantage. Making him far less of an attractive commodity to other organizations.
As badly as Peckham struggled during the end of the 2010-2011 and all of last year, he is still a player that many clubs would gladly add to their depth chart. Granted he has never been the same physical presence since being dropped by Boston's Nathan Horton on February 27th, 2011 but he is hoping to rediscover his form come this September. When Theo keeps his game simple and doesn't try to be a hero, he is very effective. To be fair, next to Smid he was easily Edmonton's best defenceman when shorthanded and played his best hockey, oddly enough, when the Oilers were two man short. He is a totally different player in those situation and simply allows the game to come to him.
One knock against Peckham has been his conditioning but if he honestly has any attention of staying in the NHL, that is something the soon to be twenty-five year old has to address immediately. He has always been that guy who will come to the defence of any teammate, something that can't be said for many that have worn an Oiler jersey in recent years, and appears to be a favourite within the dressing room.
The opportunity to solidify his role on this team as a regular is staring Theo in the face, now it is up to him to go and grab it.