Oil blueline at full capacity

DEREK VAN DIEST, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:41 PM ET

As it stands at the moment, it's Theo Peckham's job to lose.

With only three guaranteed spots on the Edmonton Oilers blue line heading into the season, Peckham's chances of cracking the roster out of training camp have never been better.

"This is the first year I think I have a true chance of sticking around," Peckham said. "But I know the way Tom (Renney) coaches, and you have to earn everything that you get, so it should be interesting.

"You constantly have to keep proving yourself. There are jobs obviously open, but you have to earn it. There are a lot of good young guys coming up and you have to show them what it takes."

Heading into training camp, only Ryan Whitney, Tom Gilbert and Ladislav Smid have assured places on the roster. The status of Sheldon Souray is up in the air -- he has requested a trade, which the Oilers are having difficulty accomplishing.

That leaves the rest of the blue liners to battle for the remaining spots.

A year ago, Peckham didn't get an opportunity to impress at training camp due to an ankle injury. He was sent down to start the year with the Oilers AHL affiliate in Springfield.

"Last year was tough, because it was a brand new coaching staff and I really wanted to show them what I could do," Peckham said. "Then coming in hurt, I wasn't able to do that. Then getting called up and getting the chance that I did at the beginning of the season, I really wasn't ready. My ankle was good, although it was still a little sore, and my conditioning wasn't where it needed to be to play in the NHL."

Peckham, 22, spent the majority of the season in Springfield, registering six assists in 37 games while amassing 106 penalty minutes.

He was called up to Edmonton following the NHL trade deadline and suited up with the Oilers until an ankle injury brought his season to a premature end.

"I got that chance after the trade deadline and I think I showed them in the 10 games or so that I was in, that I'm capable of playing in this league," Peckham said. "But then, I separated my shoulder, but it wasn't that bad, it wasn't too serious. They told me that if there was another week in the season of if we had made the playoffs, then I could have played.

"This summer I focused on staying healthy, making sure I gave my best opportunity to make the team this year."


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