The Norfolk Admirals got some good news today as Anaheim draft pick Shea Theodore was reassigned to the AHL club.
Prospect additions continue for the Admirals, as the Ducks have provided them with another defenseman. This time, it’s 2013 first-round draft pick Shea Theodore, a defenseman from the WHL’s Seattle Thunderbirds. Theodore is an offensive defenseman, which is an area of need for the Ads. With the departure of Alex Grant and the recall of Sami Vatanen, Norfolk was missing production from their blue line. While Jesse Blacker and Kevin Gagne are also offensive defensemen, they have not yet come close to matching what Grant and Vatanen provided. Theodore may be the answer after an impressive 2013-14 with Seattle.
In 70 games, Theodore put up 22+57=79 points to lead all defenseman in the WHL. Play like that can only help the offensively-starved Admirals, who need as much help as possible going into this weekend’s game. Despite a fantastic season like that, there is no guarantee he will play. Just this week, the Admirals announced the signing of defensemen Kevin Lind and Jaycob Megna, both Ducks draft choices. Unlike Theodore, they are both stay-at-home players who do not put up big points. A reasonable guess is that Trent Yawney will play Jesse Blacker, Garnet Exelby, and Nolan Yonkman. This leaves three spots open, though we could 2 of them going to Kevin Gagne and Steve Eminger. Given past choices, Yawney may chose to put Gagne on the wing and then let two of the newer guys play.
Here is an early scouting report on Ducks prospects, including Shea Theodore.
Shea Theodore draft year highlights
Norfolk’s chances at the playoffs continue to be slipping away little by little. They’re not out of it yet, of course. The relative performance by the Bears and Admirals this weekend could possibly lead up to some even bigger stakes on Wednesday. At the same time, Albany’s 7th place spot at 83 points with 71 games played can not be ignored. With Hershey and Norfolk both having a game in hand on the Devils, they could make up that 2 points. Here are the schedules this weekend for Norfolk, Hershey, and Albany:
@ Providence, Friday
Last Time: The last time these two teams met was a 2-game set in Norfolk on Thanksgiving weekend. John Gibson couldn’t stop enough pucks on Black Friday as Providence prevailed 5-4. The next day was Brad Thiessen’s Norfolk debut. He had a strong debut, stopping 40 of 43. However, the Admirals couldn’t solve rookie netminder Malcom Subban and lost 3-2. Friday will be another high-intensity game with both teams fighting for positioning in the playoffs. Providence looks to be safely in, with a magic number of 4. The Admirals need to get a win to get back on pace with the Bears.
Last Time: The Sharks came into Norfolk for a two-game set (of course) that was incredibly low scoring. On Friday, the Admirals were down 2-1 until a Dave Steckel goal in the final minute sent the game into overtime. This solved nothing, and Norfolk would lose in a shootout. The next night, both John Gibson and Harri Sateri would not allow a goal through all 60 minutes of play on Pink in the Rink night. In overtime, Jesse Blacker would collect a rebound and fire home the game-winning goal. Now, the Sharks have been eliminated from the playoffs. Worcester is currently on a losing streak, and the Admirals must take advantage of this.
@Portland (Lewiston, Maine), Sunday
Last Time: Norfolk traveled to Maine and faced the Pirates in an intense, high-scoring affair. Portland scored 3 goals with Norfolk coming right back for 3, and ultimately regulation ended in a 4-4 tie. This would lead to the shootout, which gave the Admirals the victory. Portland is the worst team in the league right now, eliminated and with nothing to show for it. Like the Sharks, the Pirates are currently on a losing streak. Norfolk has a great opportunity to pick up six points this weekend with a fairly easy schedule.
@Binghamton, @Springfield, vs Binghamton
The Bears have a very rough three-in-three with two of the conference’s best teams. Springfield is comfortably locked into the 2nd spot, while the Senators are still vying to win the East in a competition with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Binghamton would probably love to keep another East team out of the playoffs, and will have two chances to do so. Victories by teams the Admirals can’t catch wouldn’t hurt.
vs: Bridgeport, Providence, Syracuse
The Devils got a very lucky draw here. At the beginning of the season, this would like intimidating with Syracuse on the tail-end. The Crunch are a shell of their former self, and have been eliminated. Albany’s biggest challenge this weekend will be the P-Bruins, who are a playoff team. I don’t expect the Bears or Admirals to usurp the Devils this weekend.