Peeke Extension Makes Sense

Sep 25, 2022; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Andrew Peeke (2) looks to pass the puck during the first period against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Nationwide Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 25, 2022; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Andrew Peeke (2) looks to pass the puck during the first period against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Nationwide Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Blue Jackets announced this morning that rugged defenseman Andrew Peeke has signed a three year, $8.25 million dollar contract extension. The $2.75m annual salary that will kick in next season is a huge raise for Peeke, who is slated to make $825k with the team this year ($787,500 cap hit).

Peeke developed slowly for the Blue Jackets, taking the collegiate route and learning the pro game over the course of a few seasons. But he took full advantage of his opportunities last season, working his way into a young lineup, and by season’s end playing top pairing minutes alongside Zach Werenski. He’s a rarity in a system full of puck movers; a throwback to defensemen of old, playing a physical, shot blocking style that the team desperately needs.

While it’s hard to see him as a long-term solution on the top pair, he’s certainly a quality NHL defenseman at this point in his career, and this seems like a very team-friendly deal. While his stat line of 3 goals, 21 points and -17 rating through 115 career games might not stand out, he’s exactly the kind of steadying presence this team will need for the next handful of seasons as they transition into contention.

Mar 16, 2022; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Andrew Peeke (2) blocks a shot from Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Brannstrom (26) in the third period at the Canadian Tire Centre. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 16, 2022; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Andrew Peeke (2) blocks a shot from Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Brannstrom (26) in the third period at the Canadian Tire Centre. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports /

The analytics crowd is already poo-pooing the contract, but people who actually watch the game and not just the math will see exactly why Peeke is an important player for this team. Advanced stats tell part of the story, but I think it often gets overlooked that not every player is a breakout machine who creates high danger scoring chances or dominant offensive zone play. You still need guys to defend in the defensive zone – like shot blocking, clearing the front of the net, battling for pucks in the corners, etc.

Even so, the analytics for Peeke aren’t really that bad. He hasn’t produced much offensively, but that isn’t his game. This player card shows how effective Peeke was at defending last season, and that’s why he earned this contract. He’s being paid like a bottom-four shutdown defenseman, and that’s exactly what he is.

COLUMBUS, OH – APRIL 04: Zach Werenski #8 of the Columbus Blue Jackets talks with Andrew Peeke #2 during the game against the Boston Bruins at Nationwide Arena on April 4, 2022 in Columbus, Ohio. Boston defeated Columbus 3-2 in overtime. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)
COLUMBUS, OH – APRIL 04: Zach Werenski #8 of the Columbus Blue Jackets talks with Andrew Peeke #2 during the game against the Boston Bruins at Nationwide Arena on April 4, 2022 in Columbus, Ohio. Boston defeated Columbus 3-2 in overtime. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images) /

I don’t think this changes the team’s plans long-term, because I think Peeke has been in the long-term plans since his emergence last season. We can still have David Jiricek, Corson Ceulemans and Denton Mateychuk on this roster with Andrew Peeke, if things work out that way.

In all, I think this contract will age well for this team. Peeke is the kind of stay at home player the team has been searching for since they traded away David Savard. You need guys like this when the games get tough.

Next. Predicting the Opening Night Roster. dark