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Still Seemingly No End In Sight For The Shea Theodore Contract Negotiations

Call it a holdout, call it a contract dispute, call it a player not showing up to camp because of a weird situation in the CBA, but whatever you call it, it’s starting to look and sound more and more likely that Shea Theodore will not be with the team when full training camp opens in less than a week.

Don’t call it a holdout. Or… Do call it a holdout. Doesn’t really matter either way. (Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Theodore remains without a contract and thus, he almost certainly (even though McPhee said he’s welcome to) won’t be in camp with his teammates. The situation remains a tricky one for the Golden Knights and Theodore because the team is only required to offer him a deal worth less than $1 million and the player’s only recourse to attempt to coax more money out of the Golden Knights is to “hold out” of camp and possibly even regular season games.

(If you are new to this situation, read this article, then this one and you should be caught up.)

GM George McPhee, speaking with the media at City National Arena yesterday did not make it sound like the two sides are on the verge of an agreement.

It’s always best to have all of your guys available, but I don’t feel any particular pressure. We’ll do a deal when the deal is right. If he’s not here, then someone else will play. -McPhee

He went into fairly good detail about why a deal is not in place yet.

It’s an interesting part of our collective bargaining agreement that there’s a group of players, like Shea, that don’t have arbitration rights. And as much as some people dislike arbitration, I’ve always liked it because it’s a tool to get a contract done. People get pressured into getting a deal done or you go to arbitration and you have a contract after arbitration. There’s a group of 10 or 15 good young players in the league that don’t have arb rights and don’t have contracts right now and it takes a while to work them out. It would be nice if they have arb rights because then it’d be done by now. -McPhee

What he’s really saying is that there’s no formal deadline, and because of it, there’s hardly any pressure for either side to bend their stance of what they want to get out of the negotiations.

Like every negotiation, it’s about leverage and timelines. Theodore’s only recourse to force the Golden Knights into seeing things his way (meaning giving him more money) is to stay away from the team, hoping his absence will be enough to change their mind.

I’ve been through this in the past and watched other teams go through it and you go with the guys you have. I can’t blame him for not being here if we don’t have a deal done. He’s welcome to come to camp. But this is not a holdout situation, this isn’t a guy who has a contract that is not showing up, that’s a completely different animal. -McPhee

The term holdout is a tricky one here because technically, it’s not. Since Theodore does not have a contract, he’s not “holding out” on his obligations to fulfill said contract. However, according to quotes from McPhee in the past, he has been extended a qualifying offer (a one year contract worth around $1 million) and Theodore has yet to sign it. In that vein, he is holding out. However, the terminology doesn’t really matter as the fact remains the same either way, Theodore isn’t going to show up until this there’s pen on paper and that may not be happening any time soon.

We’re negotiating as best we can…Hopefully we’ll get something done sooner than later. -McPhee

That seems to be where pretty much everyone stands, but both sides want what they want and no one can blame either of them. Theodore wants to be paid like a top 4 defenseman who has a chance to become an All Star, while the team wants him to sign the cheap, short deal, and wait until they have even more info on his future (by seeing him play another year) before committing the big bucks.

It’s simply a weird by-product of a collectively bargained set of rules that didn’t really account for 22-year-olds to play massive roles on expansion teams playing in the Stanley Cup Final. It’s crazy they didn’t plan for that, right?

Every year is different in this business and every team runs its own race. -McPhee

It sure looks like the Golden Knights are going to start their race without #27, unless one side changes their mind soon.


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  1. Brian

    Not sure what the gap is money-wise, but it must be pretty wide at this point. Sign the guy for about a $1.2-1.5m range for a couple of years. But something tells me they are looking to at him as part of a trade package for you-know-who.

  2. Keith Magnuson

    No doubt the Hanafin deal is driving a hard wedge between Shea and GMGM. 21 years old puck moving defenseman, 6 years @ almost $5 mil per year pretty much sets the market price for Theodore. No way does he sign for 1.2-1.5

    • Brian

      Good point, but I don’t think he deserves an amount like Hanafin. Sure, he had a good year, but to pay him anything over $5 mil is absurd. If they do (the VGK) should lock him long term (which I think Theodore wants)

      • Keith Magnuson

        Why doesn’t he deserve Hanafin / market money? Say, $4.25 to $4.75 range for 5-6 years?

        • dr van nostrum

          He obviously doesn’t want to play in VEGAS, just like those other two guys who left. Vegas is not appealing place to many of these NHL players. Plus he has played less than half NHL games than HANIFIN has played in the league. Plus he screw up a lot on D. A LOT .

          • Jeff

            You really have no clue at all do you? Vegas is an extremely attractive place to play and the “other two guys” that left had nothing at all to do with playing in Vegas. If you had done any research at at all, prior to making stupid comments, you’d know how wrong you are, so explaining it to you is a useless waste of time. Just read comments from Neal and Perron and you’d know that both desperately wanted to stay if they had been offered player friendly contracts. Something the Knights didn’t want or need to do.

  3. Julian

    He’s had 1 count them 1 nice season and he had a shit playoffs.Made a ton of mistakes.So just like with Karlson I don’t blame Vegas for not offering long term makes zero sense.

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