The last couple of seasons have been a bumpy ride for Andrew Peeke. Once a promising puck moving defenseman, he had trouble breaking into the NHL for more than a few games at a time. He was often overlooked in favor of veterans with a lower ceiling. Many of us began to wonder if Peeke would end up being a bust. Enter 2021-22.
Whether it be due to lack of depth or actual improvement on Peeke’s part (or a bit of both), he quickly found himself in regular duty to begin the season. It didn’t take long for him to be promoted to play alongside Zack Werenski. Peeke’s physicality, right-hand shot, and puck moving ability allowed him to stick there for the rest of the season.
It remains to be seen whether or not Peeke will develop into an actual top pair defenseman. I tend to think he’ll eventually get overtaken by someone like Boqvist, Ceulemans, or some other currently unnamed defenseman. There are several shortcomings in Peeke’s game that need to be patched up. More on that later. Either way, his improvement this season is a net positive for the Blue Jackets.
Games Played: 82
5v5 CF%: 45.59
5v5 FF%: 45.34
Peeke has one year remaining on his current contract and will be an arbitration eligible RFA in the summer of 2023. With his current cap hit being $787,500, he’s do a sizeable raise if he continues on his current trajectory.
On 12/5 against the Sharks, Peeke gave one of the best performances of his career. He looked like a legitimate first pair defenseman. JLGP summed it up nicely.
#cbj Andrew Peeke with 2 , 4 hits, 3 blocked shots and career high 23:16 ice time.— Jean-Luc Grand-Pierre aka “The Hyphenator” (@JLGP34) December 6, 2021
There were plenty of small, individual low points for Peeke this season. Such things happen when you are promoted from prospect to the first pair. He took way too many bad penalties and often at the worst times. He got caught chasing the puck and getting out of position. He did a fine job, but his inexperience was glaring at times. Hopefully he can build upon last season and continue to improve.
Peeke gets a B- for this season. Not only did he finally crack the lineup permanently, but he found his way onto the top pair with Werenski. He did a fine job filling a need this season, but there are some glaring holes in his game that are keeping him from being a primary shutdown guy. His emotions can cause some bad decision making and his positioning still needs some work. His passion, however, is right where it needs to be. This team needs his physicality and his emotion, but he needs to learn how to make better decisions in the midst of chaos. If he can clean up his game a bit, he’ll be a solid top four defenseman for years to come.
How would you grade Andrew Peeke’s 2021-22 season?
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