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Is Shea Theodore The Next Defensive Workhorse For Pete DeBoer?

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

When Pete DeBoer was hired by the Golden Knights many of us had questions. One in particular was; will Shea Theodore’s role (higher TOI, tougher assignments, heavier workload, etc.) increase?

Thankfully, David Schoen of the RJ asked DeBoer yesterday after practice in Boston following Theodore’s heavy workload on Saturday.

With a small sample size of only two games, it’s still premature to read into Theodore’s game logs too deeply, however his ice time was higher. Albeit, one ended in overtime.

Shea Theodore Average Time on Ice per Game

  • Games 1-49: 21:13 ATOI
  • Games 50-51: 25:44 ATOI

Remember, while coaching in San Jose, DeBoer relied heavily on his two talented mobile defensemen. In all situations.

Brent Burns averages 2018-2020:

  • 24:58 TOI
  • 18:55 Even-Strength
  • 2:51 Power Play
  • 2:31 Shorthanded

Karlsson averages: 2018-2020

  • 24:30 TOI
  • 19:02 Even-Strength
  • 3:07 Power Play
  • 2:41 Shorthanded

Of course, they’re established All-Star defenseman, but Theodore has the ability to log heavy minutes and play the workhorse role for his new coach.

Is it a strategy DeBoer implemented and strictly stood by in San Jose? Or was it the fortune of having two incredible skaters like Karlsson and Burns in his lineup?

DeBoer doesn’t necessarily have one or two defensemen log heavy minutes. It happened in San Jose, but it was the case of having a Burns and Karlsson on the roster. In New Jersey, the year they went to the Final, DeBoer’s most-used blueliners were Marek Zidlicky and Henrik Tallinder, both clocking a little above 21 minutes per game.-Sheng Peng, @ThePointHockey

DeBoer has wider depth on defense in Vegas but much less talent. Theodore, has the skills to elevate the entire defensive unit by successfully logging heavy minutes if necessary. The Golden Knights won’t overuse their 24-year-old defenseman, but on occasion, the coach won’t hesitate to extend his minutes when they’re chasing the lead or heading to overtime.

He’s at the stage of his career where he can be relied on. You don’t want to load up those minutes nightly on a guy but situationally and spots like that, absolutely. -DeBoer

Another element is shorthanded usage. DeBoer mentioned using Theodore situationally, maybe that includes tacking on some penalty kill minutes. Burns and Karlsson both averaged over 2:30 penalty kill minutes per game. Up until Vegas’ game in Ottawa, when he skated for :42 seconds, Theodore averaged 0:11 of penalty killing a night.

So you can look at Theodore’s heavier usage under Pete as his respect for Theodore’s ability and/or potential. -Sheng Peng, @ThePointHockey

Could DeBoer just say screw it, and use him in every situation like he did with Burns and Karlsson? With the season Theodore is having, I don’t see why the new coach wouldn’t try.


The First Of The Tweaks: Penalty Killing With Puck Pressure




  1. Jim D Burke

    Would ny of this help keep Derek Engelland off the ice? that would be great.

  2. Oliver

    Very strange strategy:

    All 4 lines equally
    Force one guy

    Does not make a lot of sense.

  3. Louis Gregory

    Do you think he might dabble with Reeves playing Defense? Not exactly an oranges to oranges comparison with Burns, but they are both pretty physical.

  4. Vgk4life

    Maybe they should be smart and move shea to a wing position since hes absolutely worthless defensively. I’ve never seen such an over paid stick checker in my life.

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