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Theodore Anything But Marginalized On A Power Play

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

If you had a chance to watch SinBin’s Virtual Game Show, you would’ve seen me guess incorrectly which player leads the Golden Knights organization in power play assists. I answered Jonathon Marchessault with 27 PP assists, but was off by one.

Defenseman Shea Theodore leads the franchise with 28 power play assists. Based on games played it was a bit surprising, but when you check his man-advantage time on ice, it clearly makes sense. With over 567 PP minutes served for the Golden Knights, Theodore has become Vegas’ ace in the hole on the power play.

TSN’s Travis Yost argues over the past few years defensemen have been marginalized on the PP. Mostly because a majority of teams use a four forward unit. The Golden Knights have been one of those clubs. Sure, we’ve seen variations of 5-on-4 lines but Theodore is usually the lone defenseman. Which is why he’s gradually become more effective on Vegas’ power play. His PP statistics prove while he’s a valuable asset, blueliners overall are underutilized on offensive special teams.

It’s not a trivial data point. A few years ago, teams started to shift towards a four-forward power play because it yielded more scoring opportunities and, consequently, goals. –Travis Yost, TSN

This season, Theodore had the 17th most power play points in the NHL for a defenseman.

2017-18: 9 PP Points (1 Goal, 8 Assists)
2018-19: 8 PP Points (4 Goals, 4 Assists)
2019-20: 16 PP Points (1 Goal, 15 Assists)

Without a doubt the 24-year-old has become the Golden Knights #1 blueline option on the PP. Theodore’s PP TOI% is 70.6% (5th in the NHL), showing he’s deployed like John Carlson, Torey Krug, Rasmus Dahlin, and Kris Letang.

Need further evidence? Don’t mind if I do.

2017-18: 2:33 PP minutes per game (1st)
2018-19: 2:25 PP minutes per game (Tied-6th)
2019-20: 3:06 PP minutes per game (1st)

This season Vegas’ top d-man averaged the same amount of PP time as Blues star Alex Pietrangelo. Both were tied for 13th most in the league and led their respective teams. The left-handed defenseman logged 36 more seconds on the power play per game than the next player down, forward Mark Stone. Nate Schmidt served the second most PP TOI for a defenseman at 1:06, which is two minutes less than Theodore’s average.

The numbers display Theodore’s impact, but also confirm the Golden Knights are like most teams, preferring a power play line with four forwards. The five other Golden Knights defensemen see much less time on the man-advantage, going along with the marginalization theory. NHL coaches realize more playmakers and scorers on the ice is a much more effective attack than two defensemen. One man can do the job, and Theodore does it superbly.

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3 Comments

  1. Tim

    The game is starting to click for Shea Theodore and it looks like he has a high ceiling. I’m hoping next year Alex Tuch gets his game going lots of talent just hasn’t clicked yet. Injuries have been a big part of the problem. I feel bad for Thomas Nosek he’s done everything right on a cheap contract and he’s odd man out. I know Roy has a higher ceiling and I get it but Nosek is one of my favorite players and another misfit bites the dust. If they expand the rosters I’m hoping we get a look at Jack Dugan and Lucas Evelens at least in the three scrimmage games the bye teams are suppose to play. Does anybody know if Cody Glass is healthy? Wouldn’t mind seeing Payton Krebs play but that’s probably a reach this year. With an expanded roster on defense will Nick H, Jimmy S, and Dylan C, get a chance to come up at least to show Pete Deboer what our prospects look like. I agree a little thin but what you see is what you get.

  2. DOC Williams

    I agree on Nosek. He’s just a hard working player. Never stops. At some point a higher talent will probably win out, but I have great respect for his play. Theo has become a top offensive D-man right before our eyes, over the past 3 seasons. I think DeCoach will give him every opportunity to move up to top levels. Roy is a keeper and will only get better with more play. I think the ceiling is just to high to give up on Tuch. Injuries have hurt him yes, but I feel he needs to continue to up his physical play and use that big frame.

  3. Daryl

    Theo is exactly the same type of player as Letang, and he’s what the NHL is transitioning to…. the smaller, faster players. He will only get better. For me though, these types of players are not good enough offensively to be Forwards and the lack the strength to be strong blueliners. That’s not a knock on them its just the direction the NHL is going. He will always have problems with the bigger stronger Forwards but will excel against the smaller faster Forwards

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