Riley Sheahan is finally showing the offensive touch the Detroit Red Wings saw in him on draft day.
The 19-year-old center with the Notre Dame Fighting Irish has soared to the top of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association’s scoring list early this season. He sits tied for fourth in the conference with four goals and 11 assists for 15 points in 14 games, putting him on a pace to easily surpass his career highs of six goals, set as a freshman, and 22 points, set as a sophomore.
The 6-foot-2, 212-pound junior told the South Bend Tribune earlier this month that he came into the season focused on “putting the puck in the net a little more.”
“It’s something I was trying to work on … to shoot more and get a few more offensive chances,” he said.
Sheahan, who the Red Wings drafted in the first round (21st overall) in 2010, is averaging more than three shots per game after hovering around the 2.5 mark the past two seasons. He had the first two-goal game of his career on Nov. 15 and has five multi-point outings overall.
It’s a welcome breakthrough for a player who struggled with no goals and just seven assists in his first 18 games last season. But he finished strong after just missing the cut for Canada’s world junior team, scoring five goals and adding 10 assists in his final 22 games. Over his past 36 games dating back to last December, Sheahan has 11 goals and 21 assists for 32 points.
Throw in his size and the fact the former Ontario junior B scoring sensation has become a well-rounded player in Notre Dame’s system, and the Red Wings will take a long look at signing him after his junior season. It’s the organization’s standard approach with top college prospects, as Gustav Nyquist, Justin Abdelkader and Jimmy Howard all skipped their senior years to play pro.
It hasn’t hurt playing on one of the top teams in the country. Notre Dame is 10-3-3 and ranked second in Division I hockey by USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine. Linemates T.J. Tynan (23 points) and Anders Lee (19 points) are also at the top of the CCHA charts.
NOTES: Winger Tomas Tatar (Grand Rapids, AHL) has exploded with nine points in his past six games … Defenseman Mattias Backman (Linkoping, SEL) has scored his first goal in the Swedish Elite League. He’s averaging more than 15 minutes per game … Left-winger Dick Axelsson (MoDo, SEL) has returned from hernia surgery … Right-winger Teemu Pulkkinen (Jokerit, SM-Liiga) is in a bit of a slump, goalless in seven games with just six points in his past 15 … Forward Philippe Hudon has said he is planning to play in the QMJHL with Victoriaville, although it’s not official yet … Left-winger Marek Tvrdon (Vancouver, WHL) is 17th in WHL scoring, and because he is still considered a rookie, he’s tops among first-year players … Goalie Thomas McCollum (Grand Rapids, AHL) has regained his footing somewhat, posting respectable numbers in a call-up to the Griffins. He has a 3.08 goals-against average and a .903 save percentage in five starts … Goalie Petr Mrazek (Ottawa, OHL) suddenly finds his goals-against average above 3.00 after going 3.67 in November. Yet his team is first in the OHL’s Eastern Conference … Forwards Andrej Nestrasil and Trevor Parkes and defenceman Gleason Fournier have been assigned to the ECHL, where they’ll get much-needed ice time.
Following is this week’s statistical report.
SKATERS: REGULAR-SEASON REPORT
|Coetzee, Willie||Grand Rapids||PRO||AHL||19||4||4||8||5||-5||48|
|Ferraro, Landon||Grand Rapids||PRO||AHL||14||4||2||6||2||-3||15|
|Nyquist, Gustav||Grand Rapids||PRO||AHL||20||6||16||22||6||+3||56|
|Tatar, Tomas||Grand Rapids||PRO||AHL||20||5||10||15||6||0||70|
|Andersson, Joakim||Grand Rapids||PRO||AHL||20||4||7||11||12||0||43|
|Aubry, Louis-Marc||Grand Rapids||PRO||AHL||14||2||0||2||8||-3||11|
|Callahan, Mitchell||Grand Rapids||PRO||AHL||11||1||0||1||41||-3||11|
|Ehrhardt, Travis||Grand Rapids||PRO||AHL||3||0||0||0||9||-1||5|
|Lashoff, Brian||Grand Rapids||PRO||AHL||20||2||2||4||11||-8||23|
|Pare, Francis||Grand Rapids||PRO||AHL||20||2||6||8||4||-3||48|
|Parkes, Trevor||Grand Rapids||PRO||AHL||14||0||1||1||0||0||22|
|Raedeke, Brent||Grand Rapids||PRO||AHL||17||2||1||3||10||-4||18|
|Smith, Brendan||Grand Rapids||PRO||AHL||14||1||7||8||26||+1||28|
|Piche, Sebastien||Grand Rapids||PRO||AHL||8||0||1||1||7||-3||6|
|Pyett, Logan||Grand Rapids||PRO||AHL||20||0||8||8||12||+3||52|
|Nestrasil, Andrej||Grand Rapids||PRO||AHL||11||2||1||3||2||-1||17|
|Fournier, Gleason||Grand Rapids||PRO||AHL||3||1||1||2||2||0||1|
|Nedomlel, Richard||Swift Current||JR||WHL||28||3||11||14||39||-13||N/A|
|Sproul, Ryan||Sault Ste. Marie||JR||OHL||27||6||13||19||25||+12||N/A|
|Jurco, Tomas||Saint John||JR||QMJHL||25||17||19||36||21||+24||100|
|Jensen, Nick||St. Cloud State||COL||NCAA||16||1||8||9||2||+3||24|
|Nicastro, Max||Boston U.||COL||NCAA||11||1||2||3||10||+2||16|
|Sheahan, Riley||Notre Dame||COL||NCAA||14||4||11||15||12||+2||44|
|Marchenko, Alexei||CSKA Moscow||EUR||KHL||4||0||0||0||2||-3||2|
GOALIES: REGULAR SEASON REPORT
|Pearce, Jordan||Grand Rapids||AHL||9||1||5||0||0||3.81||.867|
|McCollum, Thomas||Grand Rapids||AHL||5||2||3||0||0||3.08||.903|