Birth Date: 9/13/1976
Birth Country: Canada (Laval)
Year Drafted: 1994
Round Drafted: 2
Overall Choice: 44
Salary 2003/04: $5,500,000.00
HW 2004 Mid-Season Scouting Report
After a difficult season last year, some might have expected him to come back with another rough campaign. Hardly so. What many don’t take into consideration is the way he finished last year: he was much stronger and much more consistent. Therefore, his play this year should not be a surprise to anyone. The large paycheck and hardware received two years ago have faded enough into obscurity that he’s just playing the game, rather than playing for ulterior reasons.
Theo’s greatest ability as a keeper is his positional game. Even when he’s not stretching for saves, he’s usually in the right place so that, more often than not, the puck hits him. Some have said his games look really easy and you therefore can’t say he’s playing particularly well; I disagree. He’s getting into positions that force players to hit him because of little other choice.
From the beginning of the season until now, I feel we’ve seen a vast improvement in his ability to handle his rebounds. Where he was sending them into the slot early on, now he either smothers, or where that’s not possible, deflects to corners as much as possible. If there’s one aspect of his game that’s making life easier on him and his defence, this is it.
He’s a small-stature butterfly goalie and has been taught to stay very upright when facing the shooter and it’s something he forgot last year. This year, he’s square and tall and challenging and if you’re smaller, you cover a lot of the net this way.
It’s tough to gauge how a goalie works within a system, but I think I’ve seen a few indicators along the way. First of all, he’s communicating with his teammates better than he’s done before which simplifies things in the defensive third considerably. He also moves the puck effectively now when leaving the net. Rarely does he give the puck away and so you can almost call him a third defender at times, which in the team concept, helps the Habs transition that puck with infinitely more efficiency. I don’t think anyone can’t doubt Theo’s intensity or his desire and at this point he’s earning his paycheck completely. It’s been a game of improvement for him this year, as he was certainly not at the top the whole time, particularly early, but for the last 15-20 games, he’s where we need him to be.
As for his standing in the club, I think we can all assume he’s the centrepiece at the back, and could be for a long time. The only question in his Hab future has to do with his number two.
José Théodore was drafted 44th overall in the 1994 Entry Draft by the Montréal Canadiens. On February 21, 1996, he made his NHL debut with nine minutes of relief against the Whalers. In 1996-97, José played 16 games and won his first game on November 6 against the Mighty Ducks. In the playoffs that year, José played two games including a 56-save performance in a 4-3 triple overtime victory over the Devils. After spending the 1997-98 regular season in the AHL, José played in three playoff games for the NHL Canadiens. In 1998-99, José played 18 NHL games and recorded his first shutout on April 7 against the Hurricanes. In 1999-2000, José joined the NHL full time and shared the goaltending duties with Jeff Hackett. In 30 games, José posted five shutouts and ranked second in save percentage with a 91.910 mark (Belfour finished first at 91.916). In 2000-01, José went 20-29-5 with a 2.57 goals-against average in 59 games for the Canadiens. That season, he won the Canadiens’ Coupe Molson. He recorded his first goal, only the eighth by a goaltender in NHL history, in a 3-0 shutout over the Islanders.