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Shea-H-L No More

Shea Theodore, a man who makes growing a mustache look hard. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

It’s safe to say the next time Shea Theodore is in Chicago it’ll be to play against the Blackhawks. Well, okay fine, with this club you can never say never, but we are pretty sure this time. The young defenseman is thrilled to be up with Vegas for good, and is working hard to adjust from the Shea-H-L to the NHL.

It’s all about instincts and what instincts I have, when to join the rush, where my shift is at. Usually if your late in your shift you’re not going to want to join the rush. Once I get more confident and start playing those minutes and build the confidence with the coaching staff that’s when I’m at my best. -Shea Theodore

Coach Gerard Gallant and his staff haven’t asked Theodore to change his style of play. They’re encouraging him to to push the puck offensively and allow him to follow his instincts. Which is why Gallant smartly paired Theodore with veteran defenseman Deryk Engelland.

I thought it was great. I thought we communicated well all night. We’re a pretty good pair out there, I thought it showed in the game. We had a lot of defensive zone breakups, that we were able to move the puck and join the rush. -Theodore

Theodore agreed that Engelland compliments his play on the ice.

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Let Shea Play

For the Golden Knights there’s a constant delicate balance between trying to do what you can to win now while still keeping an eye on the future to fulfill The Creator’s dreams of “Playoffs by three, Cup by six.”

Sometimes, however, there are situations that serve both purposes simultaneously. That’s the case for Shea Theodore, who has now been with the team for six games, yet only played in three of them.

Put Leave me in coach, I’m as good as Brad. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Theodore is widely considered the Golden Knights most talented defenseman, but that’s not to say he’s a finished product in the NHL. His ability to get shots through from the point, his skating, and his puck moving are all massive upside traits for the 22-year-old, but he does have some trouble deep in his own end, he’s not quite physical enough at times, and he tends to make risky plays that lead to odd-man rushes.

This being said, Theodore is undoubtedly one of the most important pieces moving forward for the Golden Knights. Yet, he’s only dressed for three of the six games since being recalled to the Golden Knights, has played just 45 total minutes in the three games, and saw his power play time (where he’s at his best) disappear in his most recent appearance.

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Gerard Gallant: In-Game Line Switcher

I like you, I just don’t like playing with you. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Over the course of the first 13 games of the season, the Golden Knights set their lines and ran with them during a game. Barring special teams or injury, the four forward lines and three defensive pairings stayed the game all 60 minutes of the game.

That was until Monday night in Toronto.

After a rough 1st period in which Vegas let in three goals and got destroyed in possession, Gallant had seen enough from two of his defensive pairings and decided to switch it up.

The original pairings were Nate Schmidt/Luca Sbisa, Deryk Engelland/Brayden McNabb, and Shea Theodore/Colin Miller. He stuck with Schmidt/Sbisa throughout the entire game, but after an early 2nd period penalty, McNabb and Theodore were switched.

From that moment on, the Golden Knights outscored the Maple Leafs 2-0, outshot them 11-7 at even strength, and seemed to control the action for the remainder of the game. When all was said and done with the game, McNabb played more minutes with Miller than he did Engelland, and from the naked eye, both “new” defensive pairings were better than the original ones.

The Engelland goal was created by a Theodore stretch pass (and a terrible Toronto line change). Miller and McNabb had a 70% Corsi For Percentage and were on the ice together for one of the three Golden Knights goals, and Shea Theodore probably played his best game as a Golden Knight with his new linemate.

When Vegas is at it’s best, they are playing a much more offensive style game. They create turnovers through forechecking and in the neutral zone and then quickly make things happen in the offensive zone (see the gif above). When Engelland’s playing with Theodore, Miller with McNabb, and Schmidt with Sbisa, the Golden Knights always have a defenseman on the ice that has offensive capability. It allows them to play the style of game that’s worked at all times rather than really going for it with one pairing and backing off with another.

The switch may have been made because of the score, but the results were staggering. Right back at it tonight, keep your eyes peeled on how Gallant lines em up to start the game. I have a feeling we’ve seen the end of 3/5 and 6/27… cause 3/6 and 5/27 are much better. It just took a little while longer to figure it out than it should have.

SHEA THEODORE (D) HAS BEEN RECALLED FROM CHICAGO; GRIFFIN REINHART (D) CLEARS WAIVERS, REASSIGNED TO CHICAGO

It took a little while, but finally, the clown car that was the Golden Knights roster to start the season has sorted itself out enough to make room for what is probably the Golden Knights most talented defenseman, Shea Theodore.

The 22-year-old has been recalled from Chicago and will likely be in the lineup for the Golden Knights against the New York Islanders tonight.

Griffin Reinhart was placed on waivers on Sunday to make space for Theodore. Reinhart cleared and will stay in Chicago where he was previously on a conditioning stint.

VGK’s Young Stars Dominate In Wolves Debut

As fun as it was to watch the Golden Knights stun the Dallas Stars at the American Airlines Center, the game down the road in Austin, TX was probably a better indication of the direction the Golden Knights future is heading.

In the first game as the AHL affiliate for the Golden Knights, the Chicago Wolves got a hat trick from Alex Tuch and some guy named Shea Theodore put up a goal and two assists as well. Sound familiar?

Watch the highlights, it’s basically a window into Golden Knights future, and boy is it bright.

The full box score is all sorts of glorious for Tuch, Theodore, Pulkkinen, and even the newest Golden Knight Brandon Pirri.

This season is going to feel long at times for the NHL club cause let’s be real, they ain’t all going to go like that one y’all. (Sorry, this whole Texas thing is getting to me) But this season is about more than the Golden Knights on the ice at T-Mobile, and catching a Wolves game every now and then might be a nice pick me up.

Golden Knights Announce “Final” 23-Man Roster

It’s ok. Calm down. Shippy will be in Dallas with the Golden Knights. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The deadline to cut the roster down to 23 was today at 2PM PST, however, as you will notice by some of the names omitted, one in particular, it’s safe to assume this will not be the 23 players boarding the plane to Dallas. So, here’s what was submitted to the league today.

Forwards

Pierre-Edouard Bellemare
William Carrier
Cody Eakin
Erik Haula
William Karlsson
Brendan Leipsic
Oscar Lindberg
Jonathan Marchessault
Tomas Nosek
David Perron
Reilly Smith

Defensemen

Deryk Engelland
Jason Garrison
Brad Hunt
Brayden McNabb
Jon Merrill
Colin Miller
Griffin Reinhart
Luca Sbisa
Nate Schmidt
Clayton Stoner * (IR)

Goalies

Marc-Andre Fleury
Calvin Pickard
Malcolm Subban

Before you go throwing a fit, yes, Vadim Shipachyov is not on the roster… right now. Shipachyov is one of three players who remained in Golden Knights training camp with waiver exempt status. Therefore, he is officially being assigned to Chicago without any risk of the Golden Knights surrendering him to another team.

However, we can confidently say (like, beyond a shadow of a doubt) a move or moves are coming in the next two days that will free up a roster spot. This will allow George McPhee and the Golden Knights to bring Shipachyov “back” from the AHL before the game on Friday in Dallas.

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McPhee Must Make Multiple Tough Waiver Decisions By Tuesday

October 3rd is right around the corner. That’s the day NHL teams are required to cut their roster down to the 23-man squad that will begin the regular season. The Golden Knights now have 30 players remaining in camp who are eligible to make the final 23.

It’s not as simple as picking seven guys to send down to the minor leagues though. In the NHL, if you want to “re-assign” a player to the AHL, the player must go through a process called waivers. In short, every team has the option to buy the player’s contract off the Golden Knights and place them on their NHL roster. Unless… the player is waiver exempt, like Shea Theodore, Tomas Hyka, and Alex Tuch.

To this point, 91 players have been placed on waivers in the NHL, including Chris Casto, Paul Thompson, and T.J. Tynan of the Golden Knights. A total of 1 player was claimed (Jordan Nolan LA -> BUF). Over the past three years, more than 1,000 players were placed on waivers prior to the season, only 15 were claimed. It’s not terribly common, but it does happen.

Are Hyka and Tuch worth the risk to try and sneak Nosek through waivers? (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

So, who are the guys Vegas may have to consider trying to slip through the process? Starting with forwards, Brendan Leipsic, Tomas Nosek, Teemu Pulkkinen, and William Carrier are the four players who have 2-way contracts. Assuming the Golden Knights get James Neal back to start the year, which now seems probable, there are four spots available to go to those four players plus Hyka and Tuch. Send the waiver exempt players to the AHL and there’s no risk of losing anyone, but if George McPhee wants to keep Hyka and/or Tuch, he’ll have to roll the dice to try to get someone through.

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Unnecessary Preseason Game 1 Thoughts

If you’re looking for obvious notes from yesterday’s 9-4 victory including Hat-Trick Tyler Wong and Tallying Tomas Hyka, then move right along. If you’re looking for Ken predicting the future, click here or here.Tallying Tomas Hyka? But if you are looking for some hard-hitting, in-depth, analysis of the most important game in Golden Knights history, you’ve come to the right place.

Who needs a Captain?

George McPhee suggested last week the organization leans towards three alternate captains. That sorta came true Sunday, as two veterans were awarded the A. 32-year-old Clayton Stoner, and 23-year-old Griffin Reinhart played the role of VGK’s early preseason generals. Likely just a case of “somebody had to do it,” more than anything, but it definitely further cements the case that there won’t be a C on any Golden Knights jersey come October 6th.

The Kid’s Table

When the Golden Knights released their roster for Vancouver, I immediately felt bad for Stoner and Reinhart. McPhee and Gerard Gallant both mentioned Saturday, the preseason game would mainly feature young, system players. Stoner and Reinhart are veterans fighting for NHL spots. I’m sure the trip to Vancouver felt like a demotion. Possibly, the Golden Knight’s were ‘showcasing’ the defensemen for other teams, but even that feels like a stretch on the word showcase. In reality though, it means they are at the bottom of the VGK defensive log-jam totem pole.

Shea-H-L?

The Golden Knights’ prized defenseman played a major role in Vancouver. Shea Theodore led the Golden Knights with six shots and 23:12 TOI. The “Dilemma” continues to create headaches for the front office. But if you’re nit-picking, Theodore did spend four minutes in the sin bin. His third-period delay of game penalty put Vancouver on a two-man advantage. Canucks prospect Brock Boeser, took advantage and registered his second tally of the game.

Like I said, these are minor issues stiffs like me pay attention too. I have to remind myself, preseason means absolutely nothing. Bummer, 9-4 would look nice if it did matter. Plus, I can get used to hat-tricks.

Power Rankings For Every Individual Golden Knights: Pre-Camp

Ken asked if I could rank the Golden Knights as our lead in story to camp. I said, absolutely not, it’s impossible. We haven’t even seen them in a real practice yet! Then, he reminded me that the car we rented in Dallas is in his name. Uber is expensive. Here are my rankings for every Golden Knight, heading into camp.

My criteria were based on a combination of career stats; Goals Created, Points Per Game, Power Play Goals For, Power Play Goals Against, Total Goals For/Total Goals Against ratio, Average Time on Ice, and Games Played. Plus, I’ve seen a little hockey in my day, so the “eye test” was used to break a few ties. We’ll update our rankings as training camp goes on.

We’ll update our rankings as training camp goes on. Agree or disagree, let me know. I can take the heat. (Remember, Ken made me do this.)

Defensive Rankings
1) Shea Theodore
2) Jason Garrison
3) Colin Miller
4) Brayden McNabb
5) Luca Sbisa
6) Nate Schmidt
7) Jon Merrill
8) Deryk Engelland
9) Clayton Stoner
10) Griffin Reinhart
Unranked: Chris Casto, Jake Bischoff, Brad Hunt, Nikolas Brouillard, Stephen MacAulay

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Shea Theodore Weighs In On The Shea Theodore Dilemma

As the rookies wrap up camp with a pair of games in El Segundo against the Kings this week, all eyes turn to big league camp and specifically, 22-year-old defenseman Shea Theodore.

Theodore enters training camp as one of the most talented blueliners on a Golden Knights roster chock full of defensemen. The former Anaheim Duck had his best season as a professional a year ago including tallying eight points in 14 playoff games during the Ducks run to the Western Conference Finals.

But before the glory of the postseason, Theodore found himself in a peculiar position on the bubble of the Ducks roster. Good enough to make an impact and deserve a spot, but still on an entry level contract and thus waiver exempt to be sent back to the AHL’s San Diego Gulls. In fact, after beginning the season in the AHL, Theodore was moved between the AHL and NHL a whopping 10 times before claiming his spot on the Ducks postseason roster.

On your entry level contract, you have to understand that it’s a possibility, it’s just how it works. It sucks at times, you feel like you are playing well and then you find yourself down in the American League just because you can’t get picked up on waivers. But I kind of just take it how it is. -Shea Theodore

Then came the Expansion Draft, and despite being exempt from selection, Theodore found himself on the move again, this time via trade to the Golden Knights. As the youngest NHL ready prospect on the roster, and with talent for days, Theodore should be a mainstay on the top two defensive pairings at T-Mobile Arena for the next decade. But due to NHL rules for young players, his time as a Golden Knight may not start when Vegas drops the puck.

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