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Golden Knights Need More From Blue Line, Specifically Theodore

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Goal scoring has been a bit of a chore the last few weeks for the Golden Knights. In their last 13 games, they are averaging just under three goals a game, but they’ve racked up seven goals on the power play, three in overtime, two with their goalie pulled and one into an empty net. That leaves just 23 goals in the last 13 games that have been scored under “normal” circumstances, less than two a night.

A big reason for this is the lack of scoring from the blue line. Last night, Dylan Coghlan exploded onto the scene scoring his first, second, and third career goals all in the same night. Amazingly, Coghlan is now tied for the team lead in goals by defenseman. We’re more than 40% of the way through the season, and Coghlan passed Alec Martinez, Nic Hague, Zach Whitecloud, and Alex Pietrangelo, and matched Shea Theodore in goals.

The VGK defense now accounted for 13 of the team’s 73 total goals, or 18%. That number is not too abnormally low across the landscape of the NHL, but for a team built on the shoulders of a strong defensive forward group, they need heavy contributions from the blue line to keep up offensively. It’s something they got last night, but hasn’t been over the past two months.

Theodore hasn’t scored since January 22nd, 15 games ago for him. Pietrangelo has just one goal in that same span. Martinez has one goal all season. Hague’s tallied one in his last 15 games and Whitecloud is goal-less in his last 13.

On the power play, the Golden Knights have yet to get a goal from a single defenseman despite Theodore and Pietrangelo receiving more than 50 minutes of power play time a piece and Martinez nearing the 30 minute mark.

With Pietrangelo likely out for a significant amount of time, it’s going to be up to Theodore to really shoulder the load for the Golden Knights, something he hasn’t been doing recently. In the first seven games of the year, Shea averaged more than four shots per game. In the last 13, he has hit four just twice and has seen his average dip to two per game.

In the last 10 games, Theodore is seeing about 24 minutes of ice time per night, nearly 20 of which has come at even-stength. Vegas has allowed more goals than they’ve scored at even-stength with Theodore on the ice over that span.

Quite simply, the Golden Knights need Theodore’s offense, and they haven’t been gettting it recently. Since his injury, his point production has been cut in half (from a point per game to 0.5 points per game), and defensively he’s making more mistakes than we’ve seen from him since his rookie season.

His role is set to increase even more with Pietrangelo sidelined for the foreseeable future. Theodore’s offense must return or the Golden Knights will continue to struggle to score consistently.

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11 Comments

  1. Julie

    Not to worry, I’ll make some calls.

  2. thomas pilkington

    Agree….he has been invisible at both ends recently. I see a trade coming to try to acquire some 3rd line scoring as well.

  3. Tim

    I’ve said it before Theadore has been reading to many of his press clippings I think his head has gotten a little to big. The good news on the blue line is Whitecloud young and a good defensive blue line player and Hague and Coghlan young still learning both with a heavy shot which will develop into more offensive points as time goes on. Obviously what were paying Petro and what his production has been we are looking at our version of Erik Karlsson, or Jeff Skinner buried in an outrageous contract for 7 years.

    • Julie

      And, Tim, we are stuck with the large contract players who don’t play or perform, correct? It’s ironic that Vegas spent 100m for these guys (second to Montreal) and the ROI is DOA.

      • Hi Julie – nice to see someone understand what ROI is all about – it takes all the emotion out of the equation. Come to Vegas the Splash Brothers will reward you with a huge contract and retire – not a good formula for success. Now we have 13.8 mill tied up not playing – not that we would miss the 5 mill guy and at this point in time perhaps the same can be said for the other.
        Blasting away from the blue line is of little value unless you have team mates in front screening the goalie and can hammer in the rebound if there happens to be one. Shea has certainly become somewhat of a disappointment of late no argument there. It’s to bad as he has shown he has the potential to be much better. The defense y gave the Wild so many chances last night the score could have been in the double digits.

  4. Daryl

    Look at how much money has in players not even suiting up!!! This issue goes back to last season as well. I don’t really care if a defenseman gets a goal or not but they need to get pucks on net with Forwards providing screens in front and getting rebounds

    • Julie

      As a side note, I see more of what I think you mean about Stephenson as not being a strong center. When he sent the puck out one time, it went straight to a Wild man who went one-on-one with Fleury. Fleury beat him, but it was a little white-knuckling for a moment there. I forget if that was first or second period.

  5. Lynn R

    He has not played well since the return from his injury. Perhaps he is playing with a bit of a nagging injury. But I do not think he has to account for offense; that isn’t his primary job. It sure is nice when he does, though — which points to a greater issue the Knights need to address — their lack of consistent goal scoring by the offense.

  6. Chris

    I think a lot of young guys that have some great starts have to really work to get better and more skilled because they become more noticed by other teams. Guys don’t break out in a vacuum. Other coaches and scouts take notes and that new guy gets a lot more tightly checked and a lot more time on film in the opposition game plan.
    The same moves and plays that worked the first year are not going to work the next year if they are not done more quickly and with more strength it if they don’t incorporate something new. The slide sideways move to fake the forward to get a shot isn’t working as well for Shea. He is getting stripped and blocked. He needs to work on speeding up that move and work on the other direction too. The NHL isn’t a place where you can stagnate. The better a guy gets the more attention he will get by the other team and the more they will be playing against top players of the other teams.
    There is no standing still, guys need to be working on their skill after and before practice every single day off season and during season. Getting to the NHL is opportunity to up your game. If you don’t you won’t be around long. These young guys should be spending at least an hour extra a day just on skating and handling the puck. The league is getting quicker and faster by the day and good skaters are getting blown away by great skaters. Even speed guys like Stephenson should be working on his luck handing at full speed , he can blow by people but he can get better with the puck and a little quicker with his hands in tight space.
    He can create space and back people up , needs to add little bit to his snap/wrist shot and ability to use his space to take time to see the ice better. Get speration , then use the time to read the play before getting rid of the puck. He can help create way more space for max and stone.

  7. Tim

    Hot off the press Fleury out on Covid protocol , Lehner out so were going to have an interesting two games with St. Louis

  8. Harriet Kaufman

    Oh no. I have to be honest. I’m really not enjoying this season at all. Even watching the other teams play the same team over and over is not fun. I don’t care if it’s Pitsburg and Washington. I’m BORED. And, with Covid, it’s been a disaster. Maybe no hockey sometimes IS better than none at all, I’m sorry to say. 🙁

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