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Shea Theodore’s Contract Looks Better And Better By The Day

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Three years ago defenseman Shea Theodore held out of training camp to force his hand which nudged the Golden Knights to offer him a 7 year/$36M contract. From that moment forward Theodore became an emerging star and was considered one of the more vital players on the roster.

“If you’re going to do a long-term deal, you have to get the right numbers. Really have to trust your instincts, trust the experience, trust the scouting reports from your pro staff, trust the analytics data, and make a good decision. We rely on all those resources to make a good decision and we think we made one here and time will tell.”- George McPhee, September 2018

Remember, McPhee didn’t have to offer Theodore anymore than the required qualifying offer (slightly above the league minimum) and the player’s only recourse would have been to sit out the entire season. However, both parties came to an agreement locking in the young defenseman until the 2024-25 season.

When the contract was signed Theodore became the 45th highest-paid defenseman in the NHL. Three years later, he’s a top-echelon player but dropped to the 53rd most expensive d-man in the league. Today the deal looks even better than it did three seasons ago and it looks like it’s only going to get better. The front office’s gut feeling secured a great player and a long-term, team-friendly deal. It was all about the early investment for the organization.

Since 2018-19, Theodore has kept up with the NHL’s best blueliners in games played, goals, points, and shots. He’s also become one of the league’s most effective 5-on-5 offensive defensemen.

Theodore’s NHL DEF Rankings Since 2018-19
Games Played: 203 (20th)
Shots: 582 (4th)
Assists: 92 (14th)
Goals: 33 (12th)
Points: 125 (12th)
Even-Strength Goals: 27 (8th)
Power Play Points: 40 (20th)
Overtime Goals: 3 (9th)

It was all about the early investment for the organization. Back in 2018, Vegas’ front office brilliantly managed to pay enough to satisfy a high-level player in order to annually help their salary cap. The underpaid defenseman aided the team’s flexibility to sign Alex Pietrangelo. Spending a combined $14M for both quickly turned into a wise investment for Vegas.

We thought if we paid a little more now and add a contract that was pretty steady throughout its term, we have cost certainty in the future it allows us to manage the cap better… And he is a good young player and we have some unrestricted years and now he can just play. It’s never perfect, we didn’t get everything we wanted, and he didn’t get everything he wanted, but it’s a deal. -McPhee, September 2018

Let’s be honest, the Golden Knights were hoping Theodore was vastly underpaid by the time his contract expires in 2024, but you could argue he’s already greatly underpaid in 2021.

Either way, it’s been a success for both sides. The 26-year-old left enough room for the front office to build a championship club around him for the foreseeable future. Bottom line, if the Golden Knights go on to win the Stanley Cup this season, Theodore’s discounted cap hit and impact on the ice will be two reasons why.

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26 Comments

  1. Daryl

    Do you have any defensive stats for a players who’s main objective is to play DEFENSE??? For someone who has watched hockey for years and years, I’ve never been a fan of the direction recent hockey has taken. Could you imagine the points players like Lemieux and Gretzky would have in today’s hockey? Pretty soon we will have teams filled with 5 forwards on the I’ve at one time…. games will have the look of all-star games

    As for Theo and this article, I called him an idiot when he agrees to the contract he was given. He should fire his agent for letting accept that deal. The deal is great for VGK but horrible for Theo. Even without the defensive side, when compared to other bkueliners he is worth a lot more. Just compare his contract now with what Petra got. I know it’s not a fair comparison as Theo was extremely young and unvetted compared to Petra, but still

  2. Blitz

    Big fan of Theodore. I am a little nervous about the teeter totter he is doing with Pietranglo. I hope both can find their game at the same time.

  3. THE hockey GOD

    he’s injury prone, and maybe he knew so.

    I would trade him to buffalo in a heartbeat, but buffalo won’t have him.

    After last year’s playoffs his stock went down considerably.

    Maybe this year is revenge year ? Take it back year ?

    • shadownyet

      To Buffalo? For who? Who do they have defensively that’s remotely close to Theodore? No one. That’s right.

      • THE hockey GOD

        they who ? Buffalo ? or Vgk . If you are referring to VGK, the VGK first five dmen are all better than no 27 in their over all game considering the fact the 27 plays more like a forward then a d men. And if the they refers to buffalo, he would fit in well for that team because he would be better than most of the “d” men they have already.

        it’s time to move 27 , before he gets any worse.

        • Daryl

          Theo and Petra are identical players. If you have an issue with Theo then how do you not have annissue with Petra? And if you look at the cost for what you get from both Petra is worse. Petra is better than 27,right now, but for the price of each, Petra isn’t worth it

          • Mike StG

            Daryl – I agree Petro is better all around now and Shea will be the better player probably in 3-4 years. Still needs work on his defensive game but his offensive creativity is really his best asset.

            I prefer to look at it like this: They got Petro to have a stud defenseman with an excellent offensive game NOW to construct an elite top 4 D. As Petro declines with age Shea should be reaching his ceiling. So, they are set with a top 20 Dman for the next 5-6 years, and two now during their quest to win the cup in the short term. I prefer to look at Petro & Shea from their combined overall cost to the team of $14M which is an avg of 7M/per player. That’s pretty good value. The other thing you have to remember is that Shea was already on the team and a RFA, whereas Petro was a UFA. You’ll always overpay with a UFA. He’s also a RD, and 7 of the 10 highest paid defensemen are right D. Look at the UFA (or trade & sign) contracts for defensemen this offseason – 5 players signed deals for $9M or more.

            If you compare Petro & Shea to other teams it’s not an overpay. Petry & Weber made around $15M. Werenski & Jones (though signing w/different teams after Jones traded to CHI) are making over $19M. Hamilton & PK are a combined $18M on NJD. And (the worst example of all) Burns & EK65 make a combined $19.5M. Right now Heiskanen & Klingberg make close to $13M but Klingberg is UFA after this season, so in all likelihood his new contract will put them higher than the $14M that Vegas is paying.

            Vegas had the best defense in the league last year and will likely be at least top 3 in that category again this season. For the overall amount they pay they’re definitely getting their money’s worth.

          • Daryl

            Mike,
            I don’t have an issue with how much Petra is getting, I have an issue with his contract. His deal is a prime example of the FO thinking short term and OT giving a crap about the long term effects. If VGK were to win the Cup after the deal, then you could say it was worth it but if they don’t, then you have screwed this team for years to come

  4. Walt23

    Theodore played in 53 reg season games, and 19 playoff games

    iow, in 72 games last season Theodore did not score one single PP goal.

    that’s right, the guy who gets more ice time, and has the puck more on the PP than anyone on Vgk, scored ZERO goals on the PP

    that is an indictment of the PP. the weak PP that keeps costing the VGK bigtime the past 2 years. so, he gets no financial sympathy from me. underpaid? 36 MILLION $$=underpaid?… laughable. tell that to the fans who pay his salary.

  5. Tim

    Theadore the man of mystery. He’s young, he can skate, but he’s all show and no go. So many times he turns the puck over and I’m so tired of his 80 foot bombs that rarely go in. He’s not that bad but for all the hype he’s no where near the player they project him to be.

  6. Mike StG

    Oh cool. Today is “Let’s shit on Shea day!” NBC Sports only has Shea at #44 in NHL Top 100 players (not just D). Higher than Ekblad, Nurse, Burns, Slavin, Chabot, Werenski, Doughty, Carlson – all who make MORE than he does, and some over double. Most if not all defensemen rankings have Shea in the Top 20. And, with the offseason player moves Vegas is the only NHL team with 2 defensemen rated as Top 20. But I guess VGK is ‘projecting him too high’. And the FO messed up again! Having 2 of the NHL’s top 20 Ds at an average cost of $7M each is just idiotic!!

    This is a group of ‘fans’ who would call Sid Crosby a bum if he somehow didn’t maintain his career average of 1.275 points per game one season. The negativity that permeates this site is just mind-boggling sometimes. Sheesh!

    • Daryl

      Considering I’m the only Pens fan on here and my comments weren’t negative at all toward Theo, why would you use Crosby as your example?

      • Mike StG

        Daryl – it was NOT directed at you in any way. And you did not disparage Theo. I use Sid because I think he is the greatest player of his generation.

        I will also never will forget being at TMA for a Pens game a few years back and hearing Pens fans ragging on Sid from their seats. I just thought that was so unappreciative.

        Pittsburgh fans have had the PRIVILEGE of being able to go to games live and watch the greatest player of his generation play an entire career, and that’s their attitude?? How ungrateful.

        • Daryl

          Yes, there are some dumbasses there…. You have a player who has helped bring multiple Cups and then have the nerve to boo him for a couple bad games??? But that also shows the level of competence of some Pens and even hockey fans… There are some who don’t consider him a 1C

          But thx for the clarification. Doc is infamous for being passive aggressive while you normally direct comments at the person

    • ulf

      Shea’s a very good defenseman, I wouldn’t have him as a #1 because he just doesn’t project there quite yet. Great puck mover, big, but the whole package is a bit thin – as evidenced by the PP point by another poster. Still many teams would love to have him in the right situation.
      Secondly, there are a number of teams that have D listed in many top 20s. Some examples:
      Dallas (Klingberg and Heiskanen)
      San Jose (Burns and Karlsson – they’re getting old and beat up, but still on lists)
      Nashville (Josi and Ekholm – look at the analytics too)

      a couple that will be added shortly:
      Colorado (Makar and Girard, and Byram too – if this hasn’t happened already)
      Tampa Bay (Hedman and Sergachev)

      fans need to take off the fun local blinders sometimes and look at the wider NHL, both in terms of respecting other teams and respecting the history of the league.

    • THE hockey GOD

      Cindy is a bum, and every one outside of Pittsburgh likes to remind everyone else every day with impunity !

      • Daryl

        By calling him Cindy shows your ignorance and distain for him. When you use stupid nicknames you lose all credibility in your comments.

        Either way, he’s better than anyone on VGK’s team and if you disagree with that you truly are stupid

  7. DC

    “Looking forward to sticking around in Vegas for 7 more years” is similar to what Fleury said when he signed a contract to play in Vegas. With VGK management, nothing is certain beyond one or two seasons, even if there is a contract. If a player no longer fits into Vegas’ bigger better deal, it’s sayonara!

    • THE hockey GOD

      same is true for every team in NHL, even the great one got traded.

      there is no loyalty in professional sports, and there is no crying in baseball.

      • Daryl

        Obie pretty much got an extension until retirement. Most likely Crosby will stay in Burgh until the end. There are a few players who can stay where they are until the end. Obviously if you stay way too long and aren’t willing to accept an appropriate deal then yeah they will be gone

      • DC

        The hockey god,
        “There is no loyalty in professional sports.”

        -Only among teams that never win championships.

        • THE hockey GOD

          how many stanley cups did Oilers win with the great one ?

          – crickets.

  8. Jason Mason

    Let’s trade everybody. Theodore, Smith, Karlsson, Marchessault, they’re all bums. 4 seasons here and not one cup. Shipem’ outta here and get some guys that can play….for free. We need the cap room.

  9. Marko

    Injury updates on Shea? I have him on my fantasy team. Gotta admit he does concern me from an ability to stay healthy standpoint. You spend a lot of cap on a player you hope he’s in the line more than he’s out.

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