Shea Theodore to represent team Orr in 2013 CHL Top Prospects Game

Dec 17, 2012, 12:45 PM | Updated: 5:21 pm

shea
Shea Theodore leads all Thunderbirds defensemen in points. (WHL.ca photo)

By Tim Pigulski

Thunderbirds defenseman Shea Theodore has been selected to represent Team Orr at the 2013 CHL Top Prospects game. The contest, which takes place on Jan. 16 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, features the best talent from the three leagues that comprise the Canadian Hockey League – the Western Hockey League, the Ontario Hockey League and the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

With 25 points in 34 games, the smooth skating Theodore represents the lone T-Birds representative at the game. Currently injured forward Branden Troock was added to the roster last season as an injury replacement, and center Colin Jacobs represented the team in the 2011 game. Projected by many as a first-round choice in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, the Aldergrove, British Columbia native has seen his draft stock rise through the early parts of the season.

Theodore will be joined on the Team Orr roster by a number of familiar foes, including goaltender Eric Comrie of the Tri-City Americans and forwards Oliver Bjorkstrand and Nicolas Petan from the Portland Winterhawks. The top two likely selections in the draft, Halifax’s Nathan MacKinnon and Seth Jones, another Portland representative, will also participate in the game.

The Thunderbirds host the Victoria Royals on Jan. 12 and head to Tri-City to face the Americans the following day. It’s possible that Theodore could miss both of those T-Birds games as he heads north to showcase his talents for NHL scouts.

The 17-year-old Theodore currently ranks sixth on the team in scoring and leads all defenseman. His minus-2 plus/minus rating is also a vast improvement from last year, when he finished the season at minus-36.

Since he arrived at camp as a 15-year-old, Theodore has been showcasing his offensive skills. This season, however, he has made vast improvements at the other end of the ice and has been able to effectively use his speed and vision to contain the opposition’s top scorers.

His play at the point has also been a huge factor in the Thunderbirds’ power play that has ranked near the top of the league all season. There are times when it seems as though Theodore is able to take an entire game over, carrying the puck from his own end through the opposition’s forwards and defenseman before firing a wrist shot past the goaltender.

While former T-Bird Brenden Dillon put up an impressive number of points in his final WHL season, it hasn’t been since Thomas Hickey that the T-Birds have seen an offensive talent such as Theodore’s on the blue line. Both players have demonstrated impressive speed and vision, as well as the ability to move the puck out of their own zone with ease, whether it’s by using a quick outlet pass or carrying the puck up the ice on their own stick.

Even when he’s not putting the puck in the net or helping a teammate do the same, Theodore’s impact on each game is apparent. In the T-Birds’ shootout loss to the Spokane Chiefs last weekend, Theodore was able to keep constant pressure on the opposing defense with his impressive speed and agility as well as stickhandling that would leave many forwards in awe.

A third-round selection in the 2010 Bantam Draft, Theodore was viewed as a potential late first-round pick before the season started. However, his strong play through the first half of the season has catapulted him up NHL Central Scouting’s draft rankings to fourth overall in the WHL, ahead of other likely first-rounders such as Edmonton’s Curtis Lazar and Prince Albert’s Josh Morrissey.

Follow Tim on Twitter @tpigulski.

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