In the 2021-22 Player Review series, we will evaluate the 2021-22 performances of each key member of the Golden Knights. Players were evaluated based on overall performance in the regular season with regard to pre-season expectations and how that player performed in his particular role.
Shea Theodore has more than established himself as a Vegas Golden Knights cornerstone. The 26-year-old, who became an NHL regular during the Golden Knights’ miraculous inaugural season, has built a reputation as a stellar puck-moving blueliner and power play quarterback. And while he may not be the most complete defenseman, he’s certainly one that makes an enormously positive impact in any given outing.
Season in review
In terms of raw point production, Theodore put together the best season of his career in 2021-22. He set new career highs in goals (14), assists (38) and points (52) and continued to serve as the Golden Knights’ top point man on the power play. Theodore has always excelled in the offensive zone, so this is not a shocking development.
As for play-driving, Theodore didn’t disappoint. Predictably, Theodore ranked as one of the Golden Knights’ top defensemen in 5-on-5 Corsi For percentage (53.19) Goals For percentage (54.03) and Expected Goals For percentage (53.26).
Theodore’s season didn’t come without some blemishes, though. As solid as Theodore is with the puck on his stick, he was still prone to the occasional turnover. In fact, he led the Golden Knights with 58 giveaways on the season (though it should be noted that he ranked second in takeaways as well) and at times struggled to defend enemy zone entries. Defensively, this season was arguably Theodore’s weakest as a Golden Knight. But playing next to defensive stalwart Brayden McNabb on most nights, Theodore’s focus should be directed to the offensive portion of the game.
Despite the occasional defensive lapse here and there, there’s still no need to worry about Theodore as he gets set to enter his sixth season as a full-time NHLer. Aside from maybe Alex Pietrangelo, Theodore is the Golden Knights’ most valuable puck mover on the back end. Without Theodore, the Golden Knights just aren’t the Golden Knights.
The Golden Knights are in a cap crunch, and they’ll be looking to make quite a few moves this summer to clear some space. But Theodore isn’t going anywhere. He has three years remaining on his contract with an average annual value of $5.2 million, which is quite modest for his solid, steady production. He’ll be back next season, and he’ll remain a linchpin on the blue line for Vegas.
Knights On Ice grade: A-
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