And he’s not just one-dimensional. His 15 points (5-10) in 13 post-season games — second among all blueliners often overshadows his ability to deny the opposition zone exists and entries.
“Theo defends from the offensive zone and his does it with his feet, added DeBoer. “It starts at the offensive blue-line with his ability to keep his gap and he ends a lot of plays before they even develop. And he has such a good stick through the neutral zone that, again, he ends a lot of plays before he gets back in his own zone.
“In defending, you think front of your own net or knocking people around in the corners. He defends from the O-zone back and goes back and competes and he’s not a big guy. But he’s not afraid to go back first for pucks and get physically engaged.”
The Aldergrove Minor Hockey Association product was the 26th overall pick by the Anaheim Ducks in 2013. In the 2017 expansion draft, Theodore was dealt to the Golden Knights so the Ducks could retain veteran Josh Manson and ensure that Vegas would take Clayton Stoner.
And now, with Theodore well past that 200-game career mark to judge progress, DeBoer believes that threshold doesn’t really apply. After all, if the true measure in post-season proficiency and durability, he has 32 points (8-24) in 39 games since being traded.
“That (200-game) mark is not an exact science of number, obviously,” he stressed. “It’s not like you hit it and all of a sudden, you’re a great player. The philosophy behind that is that it just takes longer for defencemen to grow into themselves aa this level and you have to have some patience with them.”