Anthony Dion, 1090 The Fan

(1090 The Fan) — While the Seattle Thunderbirds slid to a fifth consecutive loss Tuesday, a 10-2 demolition at the hands of division rival Portland, one Seattle skater continued to go about his business as he has all season.

Shea Theodore, the Thunderbirds starting defenseman, scored his 11th goal of the season and added another assist to give him 24 total points through 19 games played. In a season of inconsistencies for Steve Konowalchuk’s team, Theodore has been the lone constant.

He was selected 26th overall by the Anaheim Ducks in the first round of the 2013 NHL Draft this past summer. The subsequent NHL training camp he was invited to left him markedly more prepared and focused for his third season with the Thunderbirds.

“Going up to camp there, I learned a bunch of stuff from all of those guys that really just gives me a whole lot of tips I don’t think I really knew last year,” Theodore explained. “I feel like my defensive zone has been a lot better coming from last year.”

And that’s the area where he knows he needs to improve the most. One scouting service described him heading into the draft as “one of the better offensive defensemen,” a “high-end puck mover who makes great reads and has the ability to execute enticing stretch passes,” but that his “defensive game is a major question mark as he disengages at times and is content to stay away from the physical side of things.”

Said Theodore: “You can never stop improving on the defensive zone. At the end of the day, that is what is going to make me a complete player.”

But which defensive areas in particular?

“Being able to close down a guy on the wall and go stick on puck, eliminate him and try to take the puck away,” he expounded. “I feel like that’s why I’m out there against some of the other top lines…I think I’m doing pretty well.”

He’s not the only one.

“With being drafted and then signed after (Anaheim) Ducks training camp what we are seeing is him maturing into a serious player,” Seattle general manager Russ Farwell said. “His defensive game is improving and is a focus for him. He knows this is important and already is much better down low in our zone.”

Theodore played 71 games in the 2012-13 campaign, producing 50 points which included 19 goals. His 24 points this season in 19 games put him well ahead of that pace.

It sure seems like the 18-year-old is coming into his own.

“Definitely,” Theodore agreed. “I feel like it’s hopefully going to be a breakout year for me. I am going to work my hardest.”

For his part, Theodore realizes the team needs him to be a leading offensive force right now while it searches for other consistent play-makers. That’s, of course, on top of his primary defensive responsibilities which require him to keep the opponent’s top-scorers at bay.

“I feel like that’s going to be my role as of right now. I’m just trying to step up when the other guys aren’t and try and help the team get wins every night,” Theodore said. “We’re in a little bit of a slump right now but of course we have loads of potential for the year so just trying to get the guys going.”

After an 11-3-0-2 start, Seattle has found wins tough to come by. Seattle will get it figured out again, and when they do, you can bet Theodore will be leading the way.

Last Friday, in a T-Birds loss to Victoria, Theodore actually notched his first career WHL hat trick. Now that he’s taken care of that milestone, are there any others he’s focused on for this season?

“Nothing as of right now,” said Theodore. “I’m just going to keep playing my game and see where that takes me.”

-Anthony Dion, 1090 The Fan

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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