Thanks to everyone who voted for this year’s Top 25 Under 25 ranking. We had almost 100 submissions from Columbus Blue Jackets fans. Stay tuned as we count down the 25 highest voted players for the next month. Now, 11th-ranked Andrew Peeke
11th out of 40 eligible players
Writer Rank: 13
Reader Rank: 10
Highest placement: 3 (2 votes)
Most common placement: 4&8 (11 votes)
2021 Rank: 14
Birthdate: March 17, 1998
Birthplace: Parkland, Fla.
Weight: 210 lbs.
Acquired: Drafted 34th overall in the 2016 Entry Draft
Last season had both good news and bad news for Andrew Peeke. The good news was that Peeke found himself playing on the top defensive pairing with Zach Werenski quite often. The bad news was that he often got caved in while playing those big minutes. Peeke’s CF% dipped to a career low 40.2%. In his defense, he was playing there largely out of necessity and was never expected to be in that role. If nothing else, it was a lot of extremely valuable experience for Peeke as he heads into the coming season.
For all of the struggles he had with the increased playing time, there was a lot to like about his season. He appeared to embrace the physical, stay-at-home defenseman role formerly occupied by David Savard. He led the defense in hits by a large margin with 191, topping Vladislav Gavrikov by a whopping 67 hits. He also led the team — and tied for 4th in the league — in blocked shots with 169. In a defensive unit that sorely lacked toughness, Peeke’s willingness to take on that role was very encouraging. Occasionally, Peeke played on the edge, agitating the other team and chose to drop the gloves more than a few times.
Peeke will have some of the pressure to be the muscle on the backend taken off of his shoulders with the Gudbranson signing. Hopefully this allows Peeke to build upon last season and grow his game to be on the right side of the puck more often. Ideally, Peeke will be a gritty defenseman who can play a steady and reliable 18-20 minutes a night, and let the plethora of offensive defenseman do their thing. The defensive pairings should be a more balanced heading into this coming season, so Peeke should have the opportunity to provide just that.
I do hope he worked on his fighting skills this offseason.
Anybody willing to get in front of multiple Ovechkin shots deserves respect.