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.