This time last year young Shea Theodore made his name on the big stage. In 2017, the 21-year-old Anaheim Ducks defenseman registered five points (2 goals, 3 assists) in a first round series against Calgary. He ended the postseason with an impressive 8 points, especially since Theodore only played 34 regular season games in 2016–17. It was clear last season his game became elevated in the playoffs.
I think it’s the moment. In the playoffs everyone wants to play their best. It’s kind of your time to shine. I just feel really good right now. -Shea Theodore
Fast forward a year, and now Theodore is showing his playoff brilliance in a Golden Knights jersey. I asked the Golden Knights’ defenseman, “Are you playing the best hockey of your career?”
I think so. I feel fast, I feel strong. I feel like I’m getting into those battles and winning a lot of those battles. I’m not going out and throwing any big hits but I’m physically where I need to be. Especially, in terms of in front of the net and in the corners. -Theodore
Against LA, the Golden Knights defenseman was beaming with confidence in all zones. Theodore handled his defensive assignments and effectively created offensive chances. At times it looked as if Theodore had glue on his stick, weaving the puck in and out of NHL traffic, and in the overtimes in Game 2, Theodore was undoubtedly the best skater on the ice.
It builds a little over time with your confidence when you make those moves. I know a lot of guys have my back when something goes right. At the same time I’m trying to make some stuff happen. -Theodore
Another reason for Theodore’s growing confidence is his pairing mate Deryk Engelland. The elder statesman was superb in VGK’s first-round sweep. Engelland made small, timely plays throughout the entire series. His experience was on full display deflecting and blocking shots, making quick decisions, and communicating on the ice.
I definitely think a lot of the plays he makes go unnoticed. Setting up little picks here and there or whether it’s helping and talking the puck out. He’s been a huge help and he’s playing great right now. It’s fun to be out there with him. -Theodore
Vegas fans should be pumped reading Theodore’s confidence and enthusiasm. In his eyes, he’s playing his best hockey and he’s only 22. Theodore’s thrived in the playoffs, and his expectations are high, and they go well beyond beating San Jose.