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Tag: Shea Theodore (Page 1 of 4)

Time To Start Considering The Possibility Of Shea Theodore Missing Camp, Or Even Games?

Theodore started last year in the AHL, this year he might start it on his couch. (Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

In 50 days, the Golden Knights will be back on the ice playing the first regular season game of their second season. In 29 days, training camp opens for the entire roster at City National Arena. That much we know, but what we don’t know is if Shea Theodore will be there to participate in either.

As of this moment, Theodore does not have a current NHL contract. Thus, he cannot play or even practice in an official manner with an NHL team. The restricted free agent, who did not have arbitration rights, has been extended a qualifying offer of around $1 million for one year, but he has yet to sign it because he and his agent are hoping to sign for more.

However, the clock is ticking and it’s starting to look like a realistic possibility Theodore misses a portion of training camp, preseason games, and maybe even regular season games.

We’ll continue to discuss and see if something can be done that makes sense for both parties. We’re still (four) weeks away from camp and two months away from the season, but it’d be nice if we can reach an agreement there and know what to expect going forward. -George McPhee to LVRJ

RFA’s missing time is not uncommon in the NHL. Jacob Trouba, Hampus Lindholm, and Rickard Rakell all missed at least portion of training camp and a few games in the past two years. Superstars P.K. Subban, Drew Doughty, Jamie Benn, and Alex Pietrangelo all missed time due to contract negotiations as RFA’s as well.

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It’s Team-Friendly Or Bust For A Long Term Deal For Theodore

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Shea Theodore turned 23 years old today. (Happy birthday Shea, now stop reading this, it’s not ideal for you) He’s currently one of the best defensemen on the Golden Knights and is only scratching the surface of how good he can be. Theodore averaged 20:21 of ice time on the Western Conference Champions, he scored six goals, had 29 points, and a Corsi rating well over 50%. Simply put, as long as Shea Theodore is property of the Golden Knights, he’ll be a key cog in the future plans of this team.

All that being said, the Golden Knights do not have to, nor should they, offer Theodore a long-term deal right now, unless it’s on their terms, and by that I mean, really team-friendly terms. Let me explain.

Theodore is a restricted free agent (RFA) and does not have arbitration rights this offseason. Thus, per the NHL’s collective bargaining agreement, to retain Theodore’s services, the Golden Knights only have to offer Theodore a contract of about $1 million for one year (a qualifying offer). Again, as collectively bargained by the players and the owners, Theodore must sign that contract or he is not eligible to play in the NHL.

$1 million is a massive underpayment for a player of Theodore’s caliber and everyone knows it, but due to his lack of leverage, the Golden Knights hold all the cards… for now.

Next year, Theodore has arbitration rights and will be in the exact same situation the Golden Knights are dealing with in the William Karlsson negotiations. Three years after that, so four years from now, if he’s contract-less, he’ll become an unrestricted free agent.

So let me recap, before we move on.

Heading into the 2018-19 season (right now) – Age 23 – RFA
Heading into the 2019-20 season – Age 24 – RFA with arbitration
Heading into the 2020-21 season – Age 25 – RFA with arbitration
Heading into the 2021-22 season – Age 26 – RFA with arbitration
Heading into the 2022-23 season- Age 27 – UFA

Thus, the next four years, unless there’s an offer sheet (which hasn’t happened since 2007), if the Golden Knights want Theodore, they’ve got him, and aside from arbitration, he has very little negotiating power.

So, a one-year deal is out, because the Golden Knights benefit in absolutely no way giving him more money when they don’t have to.

A two or three-year deal doesn’t make a lot of sense for the Golden Knights either. Let me walk through the process of what happens if the Golden Knights do not offer that contract this season to explain.

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Blueline Needs To Chip In To Replace Departed Offense

Theodore scored the first playoff goal in team history. Might need a lot more of that in Year 2. (Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

When you think of scoring and the Golden Knights, rarely do names like Nate Schmidt, Brayden McNabb, or even Shea Theodore come to mind. Aside from the occasional Colin Miller blast, the Golden Knights weren’t exactly known for offensive from the blueline. Last season, Golden Knights defensemen scored 37 goals. Good enough for 18th most in the NHL.

Nashville: 56 Goals
Columbus: 51 Goals
Arizona: 50 Goals
Philadelphia: 50 Goals
Tampa Bay: 48 Goals
Florida: 44 Goals
Anaheim: 42 Goals
Minnesota: 42 Goals
St. Louis: 42 Goals
Colorado: 41 Goals
*18. Vegas: 37 Goals

Thankfully, the Golden Knights never needed to rely on blueline scoring. However, more output would help the team return to the playoffs. Colin Miller led all Vegas blueliners with 10 goals and 41 points. He was handsomely rewarded with a new $15M contract extension.

As it stands right now, Vegas defensemen are projected to score around 40 goals in 2018-19. Not far off from last season’s totals.

2017-18 VGK Defensive Scoring
Colin Miller: 10G, 31A
Nate Schmidt: 5G, 31A
Shea Theodore: 6G, 23A
Deryk Engelland: 5G, 18A
Brad Hunt: 3G, 15A
Brayden McNabb: 5G, 10A
Luca Sbisa: 2G, 12A
Jon Merrill: 1G, 2A
Totals: 37 Goals, 142 Assists, 179 Points

When you subtract Luca Sbisa’s contribution and add Nick Holden’s offense, it’s a virtual wash.

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Offseason Outlook: Defensemen

Through the course of the playoffs, the surprise unit for the Golden Knights were the defensemen. They completely shut down the Kings, they stifled the Sharks, and they bent but didn’t break against the Jets. Then, in the Stanley Cup Final, it kind of fell apart for the Vegas blueliners.

So, as we head into the offseason the burning question for George McPhee and the Golden Knights front office is whether or not they need to add to bolster their defense or of the missing piece is already on the roster.

Here’s a look at who the Golden Knights currently have under their control.

Nate looks like he’s become a star in the NHL. (Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Established and Signed
Brayden McNabb, Nate Schmidt, Deryk Engelland, Jon Merrill, Brad Hunt

While this list contains 310 games played and three players who played all 20 playoff games, there are really only two fully reliable options as full-time starters moving into 2018-19. McNabb and Schmidt are expected to be stalwarts on the Golden Knights blue line this season and moving forward. They may not be paired together again next season, but they’ll certainly be in the top four.

Engelland is a bit of a mystery as he probably had the best season of his career at the age of 35. The question is can he continue playing at that consistent level as he heads into the final few seasons of his career.

Then there are Merrill and Hunt. Hunt is a player that’s bounced around the NHL and AHL and has never really gotten a full-time shot to prove himself. The reason for that is because he’s a bit of a liability defensively due to his size. He’ll have to play well in camp once again to make the roster, but even if he doesn’t, Hunt will be a good option in the event that a puck-moving defenseman becomes unavailable during the season. Merrill is a bit of a different story as he’s more of a defensive-minded player but has the ability to pinch in and help out offensively. The Golden Knights signed Merrill to an extension last season which indicates they believe in him, but it’s still not probable that he’s a 60+ game defenseman next season.

Established and under VGK control
Colin Miller, Shea Theodore

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“Not Everyone Will Be Back”; A Look Into VGK’s Free Agency Situation (Plus 9 Predictions)

Reading between the lines, either Neal or Perron likely won’t be back. (Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The Golden Knights were close to the ultimate goal, but in the end, they fell three wins short. So, they now head to the offseason with a plan in mind, make the team three wins better than they were a year ago.

There are plenty of decisions to be made with the roster as currently constructed and oodles of cap space available to bring in outside help.

The reality is in a salary cap world you have to make some tough decisions, and with this team, not everyone will be back. We’ve all learned lessons over the years, if you examine what happens in the salary cap world you have to be smart about what you do and the contracts you hand out or it hurts your team. We’ll do our best to keep this group together but there are always three or four changes. -George McPhee

The Golden Knights have four major unrestricted free agents (UFA’s) which are set to hit the open market on July 1st. They are James Neal, David Perron, Ryan Reaves, and Luca Sbisa. Also, Maxime Lagace, Jason Garrison, Brandon Pirri, Mikhail Grabovski, Clayton Stoner, Chris Casto, and Paul Thompson will become UFA’s in 20 days.

It doesn’t matter where in the lineup, you have to be smart about what you do. -McPhee

Then there are the restricted free agents (RFA’s) of which the Golden Knights have plenty. The most notable is William Karlsson. In short, Karlsson is not going anywhere. Unless something unprecedented happens, he’ll absolutely remain the first line center for Vegas next season. However, the projections on his contract are all over the map.

Technically, the Golden Knights only have to extend a “qualifying offer” to Karlsson of $1 million. This will happen soon and then Karlsson and his agent will request arbitration. An arbitration date will be set sometime in late July to early August. That will basically be the deadline for the Golden Knights and Karlsson to reach a long-term extension.

Tomas Nosek, Colin Miller, Oscar Dansk, Teemu Pulkkinen, Stefan Matteau, and Philip Holm are also all arbitration eligible and would follow the same process.

Finally, there are the two younger players who are RFA’s in Shea Theodore and William Carrier. Due to their age, neither are arbitration eligible. Thus, the Golden Knights can simply extend them a qualifying offer (Theodore -$874,125, Carrier – $787,500) and the player will have to sign it and remain with the team through next season. However, especially with a player like Theodore, this offseason may be a good time to lock him up long-term before he gets arbitration rights and has more negotiating power. The two sides can come to an agreement on a long-term deal at any time.

That brings us to the magical world of unrestricted free agency which opens on July 1st. Names like John Tavares, James van Riemsdyk, and John Carlson will be thrown around with basically every team that has cap space. The Golden Knights have plenty of cap space so get used to seeing the big names linked to Vegas, but the Golden Knights also have a GM that’s historically not a big spender in free agency.

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Nosek And Theodore Talk About The Goal That Won Game 1

Tomas Nosek has a knack for the big goal. He scored the 1st goal in T-Mobile Arena history too. (Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Tomas Nosek’s Game 1 winning goal was a Stanley Cup moment we’ll see for years to come. The men behind the tiebreaker were understandably laughing, smiling and in quite the jovial mood the following day.

In those type of games you just want to get pucks on the net and create a rebound. He made a good play popping out and a lane just kinda opened right up, and I found it. -Shea Theodore

Theodore’s first thought was to shoot the puck but hesitated because his aim was off earlier in the game.

A couple of plays earlier I tried walking in and had a terrible shot that missed the net. You go through ups and downs throughout games. -Theodore

Nosek created open space off to the side of the net, allowing Theodore to make a beautiful pass.

At this time of the year no shot is a bad shot. You want to get pucks to the net and create rebounds. You want to create some havoc around there. -Theodore

The 25-year-old Czech showed immense emotions in Game 1, something Golden Knights fans don’t often see from #92. At one point in the game, Nosek skated back to the bench and repeatedly slammed his stick on the boards. It was clear he was frustrated about something.

It was probably after the Oshie hit. There’s a lot of emotions in a game and sometimes you need relief a little bit. -Tomas Nosek

Is that why Nosek erupted in celebration after scoring his game-winning goal?

Maybe, yeah. It’s the Stanley Cup Final, you don’t get a chance to play in it every day. When you score a goal, and you help your team win a game. It’s perfect. -Nosek

Both players are relishing the moment of playing on the NHL’s biggest stage. They’re feeling confident and ready to make an impact in Game 2. Nosek and Theodore are normally reserved on the ice, so fans should appreciate the emotions in the Stanley Cup Finals. Because it’s working.

Jets Getting Shots In Close, But Like Sharks, It’s Not Paying Off

Marc-Andre Fleury has had players all over him the last eight games, but he’s done well to keep them out. (Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

A big story heading from Round 2 to the Western Conference Finals for the Golden Knights was limiting shots in close to the net. San Jose lived in front of Marc-Andre Fleury’s goal, but couldn’t get enough past him to win games. It was assumed if the Jets did the same, the result would be different.

Vegas defensemen made it a point coming into the series with Winnipeg.

Yeah they’re strong and fast, and they can make plays. They’ve got guys that play well in that slot, and play well in tight. That’s going to be our job to make sure that we eliminate those chances. -Shea Theodore on 5/10/18

In Game 1 everything was a mess, especially the first eight minutes (unless you are Ken). Early on in Game 2, it could’ve gone the same direction. In the first period, Vegas allowed multiple scoring chances from the Jets in front of the net. In other words, Winnipeg had a flurry of shots in Fleury’s kitchen.

Well we don’t want to allow chances in front of the net.- Brayden McNabb,

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“Big” Problem Against Sharks Even Bigger Problem Against Jets

San Jose had its best lucky when they were right in Fleury’s face. (Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

By now you’ve heard about Winnipeg’s size and skill. It was on full display last night as the Jets outworked Nashville defensively and offensively. All postseason, Winnipeg has effectively used their size in front of the net creating messy traffic and high-scoring chances. Something San Jose did well against Vegas in the second round.

They are always kind of in my kitchen, right? -Marc-Andre Fleury

Overall, San Jose had plenty of chances in front of the net, but was mostly unsuccessful.

We had some defensive breakdowns that we kind of got lucky. They hit a number of posts. They were buzzing in front of our net pretty good. -Shea Theodore

Tomas Hertl (6’2″/220) used a mix of size and talent, tallying three goals in six games. Two were almost identical in that Vegas defenders couldn’t clear the puck, or San Jose attackers. Notice the swarm of teal surrounding Fleury.

Five Golden Knights allowed four Sharks countless opportunities to convert. Inches away from Fleury.

I think San Jose was one of the best teams in front of the net. That last game, they threw everything at net. Flower made some big saves and the post helped us a couple of times. -Luca Sbisa

In the end, VGK’s defensive lapses didn’t hurt them from advancing, but it could in the conference final. Winnipeg’s net presence is similar, if not better than San Jose’s attack.

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Theodore Stepping Up His Game Once Again In The Playoffs

Everyone knew what Theodore was capable of, it’s great to be seeing at night in and night out at the biggest time of the year. (Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

This time last year young Shea Theodore made his name on the big stage. In 2017, the 21-year-old Anaheim Ducks defenseman registered five points (2 goals, 3 assists) in a first round series against Calgary. He ended the postseason with an impressive 8 points, especially since Theodore only played 34 regular season games in 2016–17. It was clear last season his game became elevated in the playoffs.

I think it’s the moment. In the playoffs everyone wants to play their best. It’s kind of your time to shine. I just feel really good right now. -Shea Theodore

Fast forward a year, and now Theodore is showing his playoff brilliance in a Golden Knights jersey. I asked the Golden Knights’ defenseman, “Are you playing the best hockey of your career?”

I think so. I feel fast, I feel strong. I feel like I’m getting into those battles and winning a lot of those battles. I’m not going out and throwing any big hits but I’m physically where I need to be. Especially, in terms of in front of the net and in the corners. -Theodore

Against LA, the Golden Knights defenseman was beaming with confidence in all zones. Theodore handled his defensive assignments and effectively created offensive chances. At times it looked as if Theodore had glue on his stick, weaving the puck in and out of NHL traffic, and in the overtimes in Game 2, Theodore was undoubtedly the best skater on the ice.

It builds a little over time with your confidence when you make those moves. I know a lot of guys have my back when something goes right. At the same time I’m trying to make some stuff happen. -Theodore

Another reason for Theodore’s growing confidence is his pairing mate Deryk Engelland. The elder statesman was superb in VGK’s first-round sweep. Engelland made small, timely plays throughout the entire series. His experience was on full display deflecting and blocking shots, making quick decisions, and communicating on the ice.

I definitely think a lot of the plays he makes go unnoticed. Setting up little picks here and there or whether it’s helping and talking the puck out. He’s been a huge help and he’s playing great right now. It’s fun to be out there with him. -Theodore

Vegas fans should be pumped reading Theodore’s confidence and enthusiasm. In his eyes, he’s playing his best hockey and he’s only 22. Theodore’s thrived in the playoffs, and his expectations are high, and they go well beyond beating San Jose.

Matching D-Pairings With Top Offensive Lines Worked In Game 1 For VGK

Schmidt vs. Kopitar. Engelland vs. Carter. Round 1 went to Vegas. (Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

If you ask All Star head coach Gerard Gallant if he likes to match lines he usually responds with some sort of quip about how he’s not smart enough to make it happen. Instead, he prefers to roll four lines and attempt to let his guys play their game and force the opponent to match them.

However, on the other side of the ice, it’s a different story. For much of the year Nate Schmidt and his partner (Brayden McNabb or Luca Sbisa) have drawn the best offensive line of the opposing team. Last night was no different as Schmidt/McNabb were on the ice for a majority of their time against the Kopitar, Brown, Iafallo line. The difference for the Golden Knights is that they didn’t just limit the defensive matching to one line, they did it with the Jeff Carter line as well. Deryk Engelland and Shea Theodore were matched up heavily on the Kings second line and did well shutting them down.

Schmidt and McNabb played nearly 13 total minutes against Kopitar and managed a positive Corsi For of 57.69 and only allowed four even strength goal scoring chances in that time. Engelland and Theodore did just as well in the 12 minutes they saw against Carter with a slightly above 50% Corsi For and only two scoring chances against.

You hope you are going to get those matchups as much as possible. It doesn’t happen every time and I’m not a guy who is going to yell at our guys to change right away when you get a non-matchup line. You just do the best you can as coaches. -Gerard Gallant

This matching also has an offensive benefit for the Golden Knights. Colin Miller and Jon Merrill both posted 60+% Corsi For and spent a majority of their ice time in the offensive zone, where Gallant wants them.

All in all, the Golden Knights did well in getting the right players on the ice against the right Kings, and it worked like a charm in Game 1.

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