SinBin.vegas

Praise Be To Foley, Vegas Golden Knights Hockey Website

Tag: Shea Theodore Page 1 of 9

Former Norris Winner Roman Josi Names Shea Theodore As Most Underrated Defenseman

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Here in Vegas, Shea Theodore is anything but underrated. On a team that spent nearly $62 million on a different defenseman this offseason, most Vegas fans would still declare Theodore as the best on the roster.

He’s grown into his role as a top-pair option, adding penalty killing and defending top lines to his resume, but Theodore’s bread and butter has always been his ability to generate offense. This season he sits in 3rd place on the entire Golden Knights roster in points with 42. He leads all defensemen by 13 points and he has more points this season than Brayden McNabb, Zach Whitecloud, and Nic Hague, three of the other five starters, combined.

Theodore has become the number one option on the Vegas power play, even taking the entire two-minute shift at times when Alex Pietrangelo was out. He’s currently in the Top 10 in the NHL in points (7th) and Top Five in points per game (5th) after missing a few games earlier this season.

Last year, Theodore had a monster postseason in the bubble scoring 7 goals and adding 12 assists to lead all VGK players with 19 points in 20 playoff games.

Recently, on the 31 Thoughts Podcast, the reigning Norris winner was asked to give his opinion on which defensemen are the most underrated in the NHL. He was offered the option to go with any player in the league and Josi, who plays a similar style of game to Theodore, picked Shea.

He’s more well-known now, because he had a really good playoffs and he’s having a good year this year. Even before that, I always thought he was an unbelievable skater and (had great) hockey sense. Great puck mover. Still underrated. –Roman Josi, Predators defenseman on 31 Thoughts Podcast

Not only is Josi one of the elite defensemen in the league, but he plays for a team outside of the Golden Knights’ division. In fact, the last time the Predators and Golden Knights played each other was February 1st, 2020. There’s literally been a global pandemic since the last time Josi shared the ice with Theodore, and he’s still the first name that comes to mind for the 2019-20 Norris Trophy winner.

This is incredibly high praise and very meaningful stuff coming from a superstar in the NHL. It still boggles my mind how the Anaheim Ducks chose to give Theodore away at the Expansion Draft when they could have let go of Cam Fowler, Sami Vatanen, Brandon Montour, or Josh Manson instead.

Thank goodness they did though, because no one wants to envision the Golden Knights without Shea Theodore… maybe except for Roman Josi if they happen to meet in the final four.

VGK Defensemen Struggling To Get Shots To The Net

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

When Pete DeBoer came on as head coach of the Golden Knights one aspect of the game we expected to see change was the way the team was going to try and generate offense. Where Gerard Gallant teams thrived in transition and on opportunistic chances, DeBoer wanted to bring a much more reliable style of offense to the fold.

One piece of that is generating offense from the back to the front. The concept is to work the puck in deep and then send it low to high back to the defensemen. From there, the defensemen can make a number of decisions about what to do with the puck, but if a shot lane is there with traffic in front, that’s the preferred choice.

This was majorly successful with Brent Burns and Erik Karlsson in San Jose, it worked with Andy Greene and Marek Zidlicky in New Jersey and it worked with Jay Bouwmeester and Bryan McCabe with the Panthers. Now, with Vegas, Shea Theodore and Alex Pietrangelo are among the top five players on the team in shots per game and the Golden Knights lead the West division (and the NHL) in points from blueliners.

There is one concern with this strategy though, and that’s when shot attempts from defensemen are blocked or don’t hit the net. Blocked shot attempts have a chance to quickly lead to rushes the other way while missed shots force forwards to work to recover the puck and can lead to easy breakouts.

A bit of excellent research from JFreshHockey shows us that a few Golden Knights are struggling at the skill of hitting the net from the point.

Read More

Will Defensive Scoring Continue Into The Postseason

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

If I told you before the season the Golden Knights defensemen would score a total of 29 goals in 38 games you’d be pleasantly surprised. If I then told you they were scoring 0.68 goals per game and only two from Alex Pietrangelo you’d call me a loony.

Since this season is 26 games shorter, offensive numbers from defensemen stand out a little more. Not only are goals from defensemen necessary, but assisting and generating them as well. This season the Golden Knights are getting it all from their blueline.

2021 VGK Defensive Scoring

Theodore: 29 Points (6 Goals, 23 Assists)
Martinez: 22 Points (7 Goals, 15 Assists)
Hague: 14 Points (5 Goals, 9 Assists)
Pietrangelo: 11 Points (2 Goals, 9 Assists)
Whitecloud: 8 Points (2 Goals, 6 Assists)
Coghlan: 5 Points (3 Goals, 2 Assists)
McNabb: 3 Points (1 Goal, 2 Assists)
Holden: 2 Points (2 Assists)
Total Defensive Points: 94 Points (26 G, 68 A)

Most of the eight defensemen to suit up this season are far beyond their pace for career years. All but two have eclipsed their points per game average. If this were a normal 82-game season it’s plausible the majority of the Golden Knights defense would cruise past their previous high campaigns.

When you add the total goals from each defensemen’s best offensive season the number is just 20 goals short of what they’ve amassed in only 38 games played this year. Lately, Vegas D-men have been so effective it’s made up for the slump Max Pacioretty and Mark Stone are currently in. Which is good sign for postseason droughts. Especially, when youngsters Zach Whitecloud, Nic Hague, and Dylan Coghlan are getting involved offensively.

VGK Defensemen Previous Career Highs

Pietrangelo: 16 Goals (54 Points)
Theodore: 13 Goals (46 Points)
Martinez: 11 Goals (39 Points)
McNabb: 5 Goals (24 Points)
Hague: 1 Goal (11 Points)
Whitecloud: 0 Points
Coghlan: 0 Points
VGK Defensemen in 2021: 26 Goals (0.68 PPG)
Combined Career Highs: 46 Goals (0.56 PPG)

Currently, the Golden Knights defensive unit is the highest-scoring in the NHL. When the Golden Knights get contributions from the blue line or bottom-six it softens the pressure around the stars. Which allows them to get to work and do their jobs. Also, it makes Vegas a much more potent club in the postseason.

Scoring 0.68 goals per game from the blue line will help win many regular season games, but that additional offense is even more vital in the playoffs when games tend to tighten up. It’s unrealistic to rely on Vegas defensemen to score at their regular season pace. They might bail out the top six on certain nights but Vegas can’t survive if the defense is relied upon for three or four postseason games.

VGK Defensemen Postseason Points Per Game

Theodore: 0.67 PPG (67 Games)
Pietrangelo: 0.55 PPG (92 Games)
Martinez: 0.28 PPG (84 Games)
Holden: 0.25 PPG (40 Games)
McNabb: 0.17 PPG (52 Games)
Whitecloud: 0.15 PPG (20 Games)
Combined Postseason Average: 0.345 PPG

Only Pietrangelo and Shea Theodore average more than 0.30 points per playoff game. Sure, Alec Martinez has one of the most memorable Cup-clinching shots of all time but he’s never been relied on to produce offensively. That’s not his role.

The best-case scenario would be Pacioretty, Stone, and other top-six forwards consistently driving offense in the postseason. In that situation, any point from the blue line would be an added bonus. Momentum changing, insurance type goals or series clinchers.

Ask Alec, that’s how the Stanley Cup is won.

Sharks Credit Limited Golden Knights Fans For Noisy Game, Poor Officiating

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

It may have only been 20% but it felt like a full house last night at T-Mobile Arena. Not only did Vegas get a boost from their star goaltender but also from the 3,473 fans in attendance. Labeled the loudest fans in hockey, the limited amount of VGK faithful made sure San Jose heard them loud and clear.

According to San Jose coach Bob Boughner, the building was loud.

We were in another team’s building. There were fans in here tonight. It was loud and I think that makes things harder on everybody. -Bob Boughner, San Jose coach

One theme brought up several times by members of the Sharks was the officiating. San Jose felt there were two or three missed calls that should’ve gone their way. Even Sharks broadcaster Randy Hanh was upset with the zebras.

It’s possible the officials were distracted by the crowd. Like the players, they’ve been skating in empty arenas as well. More than likely Boughner was complimenting the noisy crowd by taking a jab at the referee. Either way, last night the fans made some impact on the ice.

Defenseman Shea Theodore sure thought so.

Yeah, even when we had 15% the fans were still buzzing. The more fans the better. I thought they were loud and there was definitely times we were feeding off that. Hopefully, that continues moving forward. -Shea Theodore

Since the inaugural season, Vegas fans have been recognized as one of the loudest and supportive fanbases in hockey. The team on the ice has undoubtedly benefited from their faithful’s rowdiness. Including last night’s victory against the Sharks, the Golden Knights are now 86-35-12 when playing on home ice.

Home ice advantage hasn’t existed in over a year now, but it should in these upcoming playoffs. More so if the Golden Knights play a team in California or Canada who aren’t rushing to open venues. Playing in an opponent’s empty building while they must come to Vegas and contend with a half-packed T-Mobile Arena should be a major advantage for VGK.

Everyone from fans to the state government is hoping T-Mobile Arena will get back to normal occupancy by the start of the postseason. Signs are beginning to point in that direction but nothing can be certain in 2021. (From what we are hearing, 50% seems likely soon but 100% still seems a bit far off.)

We now know what 3,400+ fans sound like and the effect an opposing coach believes they have. Imagine what 8,000+ can do.

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.

DeBoer Faced With Variety Of Options When Theodore’s Ready To Return

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The injury bug has hit the Golden Knights a bit over the past week forcing them to dig deep down the depth chart on the blue line. It’s given Nick Holden and Dylan Coghlan a chance to get into the games, and it’s also sent Zach Whitecloud and Nic Hague up the ladder playing as the second pair.

Eventually, hopefully soon, Shea Theodore will be able to return but Brayden McNabb is expected to be unavailable through the rest of the month of February. That leaves some question marks as to who will be in the lineup and how they’ll be deployed.

When Theodore is ready, Vegas will have seven available defensemen with games under their belts this season. Obviously, Alex Pietrangelo, Alec Martinez, and Theodore will be in the lineup, and with the way Zach Whitecloud has been playing, he’s a lock as well. That leaves Coghlan, Holden, and Hague as options for the final two spots.

The decision could come down to a non-performance related issue for Nick Holden though. Since Holden cleared waivers earlier this year they may want to protect him against having to clear again. The rule states that once a player clears waivers he must play 10 games and be on the roster for more than 30 days before he’s once again eligible for waivers.

Holden currently sits at six games played and has been on the roster for 15 days (assuming they did not shuffle him back and forth on off days). Thus, if they stick with him in the lineup, he could once again be waiver eligible as soon as March 2nd.  That’s not ideal for Vegas as once McNabb is ready to return, Holden would once again be susceptible to waiver claim by any of the other 30 teams.

So, let’s say the Golden Knights opt to stick with Hague and Coghlan instead. That leaves the Golden Knights with three right-handed defensemen (Pietrangelo, Whitecloud, and Coghlan) and three left-handed D (Theodore, Martinez, Hague). However, Theodore has played most of the past two seasons on the right side, with Martinez since he was acquired from the Kings.

In Theodore’s absence, Martinez has played with Pietrangelo and it’s been the best Pietrangelo has looked. So the question becomes do you switch Theodore back to his natural side or do you play an all right-handed pair either atop the lineup or on the 3rd pair. Here are a few of those options.

Play Theodore on the left
Martinez-Pietrangelo
Theodore-Whitecloud
Hague-Coghlan

Leave Theodore on the right
Whitecloud-Pietrangelo
Martinez-Theodore
Hague-Coghlan

Load up with Theodore on the left
Theodore-Pietrangelo
Martinez-Whitecloud
Hague-Coghlan

Go for balance with Theodore on the right
Martinez-Pietrangelo
Hague-Theodore
Coghlan-Whitecloud

To me, both of the best options involve Theodore switching back to the left. He’s played plenty of games in a Golden Knights uniform on the left, most often paired with Deryk Engelland. But, since he’s taken his biggest leap offensively, and every game for DeBoer, Theodore has been on the right.

Read More

Vegas’ Cup Contending Offense On Display Last Night

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

No matter how many games an NHL regular season has, no game’s are alike. Sure, the first few games had similarities, Vegas won all three but didn’t look good doing it.

Something had to break.

We were talking before the game that we hadn’t really pitched in too much… It’s kind of convenient that we did tonight, and I thought it definitely helped our overall game. -Shea Theodore

With the exception of the first few minutes, the Golden Knights put together their best attack of the season and were handsomely rewarded from it. Ten players collected points in Vegas’ 5-2 victory against Arizona and not a single one of them were cheap empty-net points either.

All five goals were examples of how dangerous this club can be. Alex Tuch scored Vegas’ first power play goal of the season, Mark Stone and Max Pacioretty paired up once again, and the star defensemen found the net three times.

Read More

Alec Martinez Is Very Easy To Root For

“I’m smiling under my mask.” -Alec Martinez

Although the members of the media were miles away, Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez answered questions at his Zoom press conference wearing a mask.

It’s a common theme with Martinez. He understands there’s a world outside of hockey. When asked about the concerns of a short training camp, a condensed schedule, or the pressures of playing for a contender, he first qualifies his responses by comparing it to the reality that we’re all living in. It’s not just the hockey season that’s been shaken, and the 33-year-old NHL’er understands that more than anyone.

It’s just the way things are going these days. Everyone has to adapt, you’ve got to be a professional. You know a lot of people are making sacrifices. There’s a lot of hard work being put into this so we can have the opportunity to play. I’m not going to complain. -Martinez

There’s no whiff of selfish, millionaire athlete coming from Martinez. It’s the complete opposite, the defenseman sounds like an aware citizen continuing to adjust like all of us. He’s preparing for an unusual season but doing his best to adjust.

Nothing in the world right now is ideal. I don’t expect the NHL season to be any different. -Martinez

Martinez is an easy guy to root for. He takes his job seriously but takes a real-world approach. Sure, his life has been rattled by delays, negotiations, and protocols but #23 recognizes that others are in a similar predicament.

As he enters his 12th NHL season, Martinez is confident Vegas can make a deep run in the postseason. Playing alongside Shea Theodore, the veteran defenseman understands his responsibilities protecting his free-skating partner. To get the most of Theodore’s abilities, Martinez will need to be a steady wingman.

Martinez might be unaware of how his demeanor can easily connect to average, everyday Golden Knights fans. It’s hard for fanbases not to feel left out when they can only enjoy their team from their 65-inch TVs. Martinez recognizes the issues that we’re all facing.

If guys don’t like each other you don’t have chemistry then you’re not going to be successful. I don’t think that only applies to hockey, I think that’s anything in life. -Martinez

If only he could say it louder so the rest of the country can hear.

Can Vegas Put Postseason Scoring Drought Behind Them In 2021?

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Over their history, the Golden Knights have scored a total of 877 franchise goals, 738 in the regular season, 139 in the playoffs. In 238 regular season games, Vegas’ average comes out to 3.14 goals scored per game. In all three seasons, Vegas tallied more than the league average, and are ranked 8th in the NHL in goals since their inception.

The big offseason question was can the Golden Knights score enough in year four, and most importantly, in the playoffs?

2017-18: 268 Goals, 3.26 Goals Per Game (Regular Season) 57 Goals, 2.85 Goals Per Game (Playoffs)
2018-19: 246 Goals, 3.00 Goals Per Game (Regular Season) 25 Goals, 3.57 Goals Per Game (Playoffs)
2019-20: 224 goals, 3.15 Goals Per Game (Regular Season) 57 Goals, 2.85 Goals Per Game (Playoffs)

Coming into the Vancouver series, the Golden Knights were on a torrid offensive pace. Three round-robin games and a five-game whooping of the Blackhawks had Vegas scoring at a 3.75 goals per game clip. Then, it hit the skids. In 12 postseason games against Vancouver and Dallas, the #1 seed in the Western Conference averaged only 2.25 goals per game. In the last eight games, they scored just 12 goals or 1.5 per game.

After the season, it was mostly written off publicly by players, coaches, and the office as just a rough patch and a pair of hot goalies The offseason was centered around one major move, though one that should help the team offensively.

Read More

Shot Attempts By Defensemen Way Up In Playoffs; Expected To Go Even Higher In 2020-21

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The change from Gerard Gallant to Pete DeBoer brought about a slightly new style of play, but more so it seemed to bring a new emphasis on how the Golden Knights would go about creating their offense.

Back when DeBoer was with the Sharks, we specifically highlighted one stat that indicated the exact difference between his way of generating offense and Gallant’s. At the time it was written as an example of what Vegas needed to stop to win the series, but now, it’s what the Golden Knights need to work to be successful in 2020-21.

That stat is percentage of team shots attempts taken by defensemen. Back when DeBoer was with the Sharks, his teams were consistently among the league leaders seeing about 40% of their shot attempts coming from blue liners. Vegas, under Gallant, came in with significantly less, at around 34%. Over the course of the 2018-19 season, that meant about 300 fewer shot attempts from Vegas defensemen than San Jose’s.

It didn’t take long for DeBoer to begin implementing that style of offense here in Vegas. Thanks to some dandy research by SanJoseHockeyNow.com‘s Sheng Peng, the increase in shot attempts from Gallant, to pre-Pause DeBoer, to post-Pause DeBoer was massive.

Read More

Page 1 of 9

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén

SinBin.vegas

SinBin.vegas