Editor’s note: Vegas finally has a roster. It’s time to get excited. Over the next couple of weeks, we will be introducing you to these new Golden Knights players.
The Vegas Golden Knights got two players, Clayton Stoner and Shea Theodore, from the Anaheim Ducks through the expansion draft.
This might be a case of taking one player in order to get the real prize. Let’s take a look.
Stoner is a 32-year-old left-shooting defenseman who is a mountain of a man at 6-foot-4, and 216 pounds. That’s an intimidating presence from Port McNeill, British Columbia.
A third-round pick in 2004, the gritty veteran has been a member of the Minnesota Wild and the Ducks, playing 360 games in eight seasons and accounting for 459 penalty minutes. In summer 2014, the Ducks signed Stoner to a four-year deal worth $13 million, which seemed impossible to get out of at the time.
He played 133 games with the Ducks, but hasn’t played since Nov. 15 due to an abdominal injury.
Numbers, numbers, numbers
Stoner’s Corsi Against per 60 over the last five years is a solid 52.86, good for 95th in the NHL out of 314 qualified skaters. His Corsi Against per 60 Relative is a respectable -0.67, though his CF% Rel is at -0.58.
That’s a problem with Stoner. While he ranks respectably in the defensive metrics, he doesn’t provide much in terms of puck possession or offence.
His CF% is ranks in at 195th with 48.58, not a far cry from his CF% of 47.8%. He ranks 204th in goals for percentage at 47.71 and his 49.95 Corsi For per 60 ranks 258th in that same three-year period.
Stoner hasn’t played more than 69 games in his career. He would have found it difficult to make his way into Anaheim's lineup and the Ducks needed the $3.25 million in cap more than a bottom pairing defenseman.
Clayton Stoner is not a particularly good defenceman. Having him on the team won’t make it better in many ways. But, picking him was likely part of the deal for Theodore. On the other hand, Stoner is either insane or fearless. I’m not sure which, but I kinda love it.
Now, to the pièce de résistance. I’m talking about Shea Theodore.
The 6-foot-2 Theodore is a 21-year-old, left-handed defensive prospect taken 26th overall in the 2013 draft. He’s only played 53 games, notching 17 points.
In the AHL, Theodore accumulated 68 points in 89 games.
His GF% is a solid 53.57, but that comes with a grain of salt since it’s a small sample size.
Theodore’s primary partner was Kevin Bieksa (274:43) and his CF% skyrocketed in the 187:42 when apart — up to 55% — and his CA60 dropped to 49.23.
If he were to maintain that CA60 over a full season, he'd finish ninth in the league last year, tied with P.K. Subban.
But, again, small sample sizes.
Before the draft, he was scouted as a top offensive defenseman prospect who was a smooth, agile skater, had a good shot and would excel on the power play. He was said to possess good hockey intelligence.
I can't believe that has changed much since then.
In 2016, The Hockey Writers blog quoted scouts as saying (in 2015) that his physical attributes and defensive awareness were rare and he "should be a top pairing two-way defender" someday.
His addition to the organization gives the Golden Knights a legitimate top prospect and a potential star in the making.