Shea Theodore: The Most Golden of Knightsby Dom Lunardo September 17, 2020 0 comments
On Monday evening, the Vegas Golden Knights saw their dream of hoisting the Stanley Cup come to an end after losing 3-2 in overtime to the Dallas Stars, who went on to win the series in five games (4-1). Despite the loss, Vegas found themselves in the Western Conference Final for the second time in three seasons after entering the league as an expansion team in 2017-18. In addition to their vast plethora of talent that includes the likes of Jonathan Marchessault, Mark Stone, Reilly Smith, William Karlsson, Marc-Andre Fleury, and Robin Lehner, the Knights also have an absolute stud spearheading the blue-line for years to come. That player would be none other than Shea Theodore.
For all their guile, talent, skill, and speed as a team, Shea Theodore is quickly emerging as one of the best defensemen in the National Hockey League (NHL) and the undisputed leader on the Golden Knights. What makes him so dynamic and effective? How has he risen through the ranks so quickly? Let’s read on and find out.
Golden Boy on the Golden Knights
There are some players that make it to the NHL that are just “born for it”. Theodore is one of those players. Born and raised in Langley, British Columbia, Theodore’s junior career went through the Seattle Thunderbirds of the Western Hockey League (WHL). It didn’t take long for him to take the league by storm (and to catch the proverbial eye of pro scouts from across the NHL. As a thunderbird, Theodore wore the “C” as team captain and skated in 257 games, scoring 58 goals, 154 assists, for 212 points over the course of his junior career. Theodore also won Gold at the 2013 Under-18 Tournament and won Gold as a member of Team Canada’s World Junior team in 2015. This kid’s a winner!
Drafted in the first round, 26th overall back at the 2013 NHL Entry Draft by the Anaheim Ducks, Theodore has vastly improved as a player and established himself as one of the most dynamic blue-liners on a Vegas team that should continue to contend for a Cup in years to come. How on earth the Anaheim Ducks ever let him go is beyond me. For all intents and purposes, Theodore was nothing short of “found money” for the Knights, and what a find he was.
Norris Trophy Worthy?
In a league filled with several tremendously talented defensemen such as Cale Makar, Seth Jones, Jaccob Slavin, Quinn Hughes, John Carlson, Miro Heiskanen, Roman Josi, Victor Hedman, and Alex Pietrangelo (among others), Theodore should be part of this logjam of blue-liners competing for the James Norris Memorial Trophy as the league’s top defenseman for the foreseeable future. There’s nothing this kid can’t do.
As a player, there’s a lot to like about Theodore. He’s big, strong, agile, intelligent, offensive-minded, smooth-skating, and loves to dictate play with the puck on his stick. At 6’2, 195 pounds, he is an absolute force on the ice with the ability to change the game with each and every shift.
Theodore has proven that he can thrive in pressure-packed situations and has stapled himself as one of the undisputed leaders both on and off the ice on a deep and talented Knights team. When I look at past Norris Trophy winners such as Mark Giordano, Erik Karlsson, Duncan Keith, and Victor Hedman (in addition to others), I see a lot of similarities in their games with that of Theodore. You can pencil in Shea’s name as one to watch out for in the years to come on the Vegas blue-line.
The 2019-20 postseason inside the Western Conference bubble in Edmonton, Alberta really solidified Theodore as one of the league’s top players. Over the course of 19 games, he tallied seven goals and 11 assists, for 18 points to go along with a plus-six rating and 22:32 of ice time. This is a player who played in every situation for Peter DeBoer’s Knights and played with an endless amount of energy.
It’s a shame hockey fans from far and wide are unable to see this kid in the Stanley Cup Final, but at 25 years of age, he has a whole lot of breathtaking hockey left in him. I for one will be watching him intently at the start of next year as he looks to cement himself as the league’s top defenseman. Remember his name, hockey fans.
Check us out on our socials:
Follow Dom Lunardo on Twitter @TapetoTape88
Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images