One of the people pictured above is an NHL defenseman, the other could be runner-up in a pie eating contest. Mindbender moment: they're the same person! Yes, it's clear Theo Peckham came into camp out of shape this season, but that doesn't mean he deserves an entire year on the bench.
Granted, nobody in the media or blogosphere knows exactly what is going on in the Oilers' dressing room all the time, and certainly nobody knows what's in Ralph Krueger's head except for the coach himself. There could be reasons that are not made public for Theo Peckham to be a healthy scratch in 33 of 37 games.
The surprising health of Edmonton's blue line is one such reason. Including two games from Peckham (illness), the Oilers have lost just 13 man-games this year from their defense. This, after 142 man-games lost by the defense last season in just over twice as many games played by the team.
But even that doesn't hold water with Ralph Krueger's stated desire to keep everyone in the rotation active:
"We want to keep players who are here active. [Playing Potter over Fistric on January 28th] wasn't about Mark. It was more about keeping Corey involved."
Peckham, who hasn't played since March 8th, is beginning to feel like he's being punished rather than under-utilized, as Rob Tychkowski reported on Wednesday. That's a problem for the Oilers, who have watched Peckham's value slowly dwindle to nothing over less than a year.
It's not the first time we've sung this refrain. Linus Omark suffered through similar circumstances last April, as the Oilers seem to find at least one player per year to piss away during meaningless rebuild seasons. Even with Omark there was a sense that his circumstances could have been punitive, and we know that the Oilers are capable of that from the way they dealt with Sheldon Souray. Incidentally, the same Souray that the Oilers banished to the AHL for a year now has 7-9-16 for Anaheim in just 39 games, and is second among their defense in time on ice per game.
Add Theo Peckham to a list of wasted assets that includes Souray, Omark, Erik Cole, Kyle Brodziak, and others. Not to mention the recent string of draft picks that have been spent needlessly on players like Mike Brown and Jerred Smithson when better options (like Jussi Jokinen) were available on waivers for free. For some reason the Oilers have been burning through assets like they don't even value them at all, and that's a serious issue going forward.