The Vegas Golden Knights are preaching patience with their young players. High draft selections Cody Glass, Nick Suzuki and Erik Brannstrom will all spend the season playing for their respective junior teams (and, in Brannstrom’s case, his SHL team). While it’s hard not to be excited about the Golden Knights’ future, patience is a virtue and George McPhee will not make any moves that are detrimental to the kids’ long-term maturation.
But not all of Vegas’ youngsters will be left off the Golden Knights’ roster.
Defenseman Shea Theodore, whom the Knights acquired from the Anaheim Ducks prior to the expansion draft, is one of Vegas’ top up-and-comers with a legitimate shot at making the team out of camp.
Of course, nothing is set in stone, but the Golden Knights — and particularly head coach Gerard Gallant — are very high on the 22-year-old blueliner. When asked about Theodore after Vegas’ Thursday night loss to the Colorado Avalanche, Gallant seemed to confirm Theodore’s place on the roster and went on to give a quick assessment of the former Ducks’ development.
Shea’s played well and he’s a solid player. I think he’s played really well. He made some mistakes tonight and last game, but you’re going to see that from young players, especially young defensemen.
That hardly sounds like a coach lacking confidence in one of his young players.
Theodore played in 34 regular season games for the Ducks last season and totaled an unremarkable nine points during that stretch. In the playoffs, though, Theodore turned into a completely different player, having scored two goals and eight points in 14 postseason contests.
The 6-foot-2, 195-pound defenseman has continued that solid play with his new team through the preseason. Despite the small sample size, Theodore’s three points in four games ranks second amongst fellow Knights defensemen. Brad Hunt, who is seven years older than Theodore, leads the pack with six points.
Theodore still has some kinks to work out as a defender, but there’s no denying the flash and natural playmaking abilities he’s routinely displayed in his young career. Whether he ends up making the Knights is still uncertain. But if he does end up making the roster, he has the potential to become a key component on the Vegas blueline, thanks to his keen puck-moving skills and offensive prowess.