By Drew Ericsen
The game against the Minnesota Wild capped off the first 11 games of Shea Theodore’s NHL career. From what we have seen so far, Theodore has emerged as quite the bright spot, and has certainly made his case to not be sent back to the AHL once Cam Fowler and Simon Despres make their return to the Anaheim Ducks. Below are a few things that Theodore has brought to the Ducks:
1.Solid, and Smart Defense
Because there is such a large change in talent between the NHL and other hockey leagues, many rookies often struggle when it comes to playing their very best. For many, it can take up to a couple of seasons to really hit their stride as a professional. However, the select few seem to be gifted with this sort of serenity in their gameplay. Even though the game may be providing an immensely hectic situation, these rookies seem to always know what the smart play is, and in turn make that smart play. Shea Theodore certainly falls into this select group. Currently he holds the highest +/- on the entire Anaheim Ducks roster, with a +3. Other than Theodore, there are only two players with positive ratings, Josh Manson(+1) and Nate Thompson (+1). Another notable aspect of his game is the fact that he has not committed a single penalty. This kind of smart play has and will continue to make the Ducks a stronger team.
2. The Power Play
Theodore has played somewhat of a crucial role in the Ducks’ power play as of late. So far he has one goal and no assists on the power play. Even though this may not sound very impressive, keep in mind that the 20 year old rookie has only played a total of 11 games. Another thing that the numbers do not show is Shea’s natural ability to move the puck swiftly and accurately. This is something that we can see especially on power play opportunities. He is very effective at playing the point position during the power play. With the addition power play time, he has been averaging about 19 minutes and 50 seconds per game since his first two games.
3. Spark Plug
Another crucial aspect of Theodore’s game is that he has served as quite the spark plug for the Anaheim Ducks. Since he played in his first NHL game (Dec. 29, 2015), the Ducks have had an average of 2.18 goals per game. While I will admit this is still not a very impressive number, the Ducks currently have an average of 1.95 goals per game that seems to be increasing with every game that Theodore plays. He also has recorded one point in each of his last four games. He scored his first career NHL goal against Ottawa on January 13th, which was also a power play goal and the game winner. He has recorded an assist in each of the last three games.
If you have any thoughts on the performance of Shea Theodore, or just want to speak your mind, please feel free to comment below!
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