Theo Peckham couldn’t sleep the night before the Edmonton Oilers made their final cuts.
It was understandable.
Peckham, 22, was in one of the most intriguing battles of training camp, in contention for the final spot on the blue line with Shawn Belle and Richard Petiot.
“It was a pretty long two weeks,” said Peckham of camp. “But it’s all worth it now. A couple of days ago, not getting a phone call was one of the best things in my life.
“It’s awesome, it was a great feeling.”
On Monday, the Oilers summoned those players cut to Rexall Place, in order to meet with the coaching staff before receiving their minor league assignments.
Belle and Petiot were called in the morning. Peckham was not.
“I didn’t sleep a lot the night before,” Peckham said. “I slept for about four hours. I got up at 7 a.m. and just sat there looking at my phone waiting for it to pop up to see that they were calling.
“But the call never came, which made it one of the best days of my life.”
Peckham has played 31 games with the Oilers over the past three years, but has never before made the team out of training camp.
On Thursday he’ll be in the opening-night lineup when the Oilers host the Calgary Flames (8 p.m.) at Rexall Place.
“It’s crazy, you go through the two weeks of training camp which seem like six months, then you find out you made the team and now the work actually starts,” Peckham said. “It’s going to be tough, but I just have to try and play my game, try not to do too much and try to do my best for the team here so I can stay.”
Originally a third-round pick of the Oilers – 75 overall – in 2006, Peckham worked his way through the system, spending the better part of three years in the minors.
The native of Richmond Hill, Ont., made his Oilers debut in 2008, getting called up for one game midway through the season.
The following year Peckham was called up towards the end of the year and played 15 games with the Oilers.
Last season an ankle injury forced him to miss training camp and he once again started the year with the team’s minor league affiliate.
“It’s slowly sinking in that I’m here now,” Peckham said. “I think it was (Tuesday) when I was standing in the weight room, thinking ‘Wow I’m actually here.’ It’s all starting to sink in.”
On a team building towards the future Peckham is a perfect fit among a youth-laden group. It’s one of the reasons he selected over Petiot and Belle, who have more experience at the professional level.
“It’s great being here, the NHL games are pretty competitive on the Xbox,” Peckham smiled. “It works out that we’re kind of all gamers and we’re all around the same age. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”