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Sheahan embraces shut-down role

Published Tuesday, November 26, 2013, 11:05 p.m. under 2013-14 RWC Reports
Riley Sheahan

Riley Sheahan (Credit: Mark Newman)

The Detroit Red Wings drafted Riley Sheahan to be a scorer, but it’s on the defensive side of the puck where he may ultimately make his money in the NHL.

Sheahan, a center who turns 22 on Dec. 7, is in his second full American Hockey League season with the Grand Rapids Griffins and has been working tirelessly on the little details of his game and excelling defensively while producing three goals and five assists through his first 16 contests.

“He’s really grasped the role of being a shut-down, checking center,” said Red Wings director of amateur scouting Tyler Wright, on the NHL Network’s Hockey Prospect Radio show on Sirius XM. “He takes a lot of pride in the faceoff circle and on the penalty kill. All those little things are so valuable at the next level. It’s not all about putting up numbers and playing on the power play.”

The Red Wings, who selected the 6-foot-2 212-pounder 21st overall in 2010, compared Sheahan to Johan Franzen on draft day. But in three NCAA seasons at Notre Dame, Sheahan never exceeded nine goals or 25 points and had a career points-per-game average of just 0.56. He did pick up a nomination for CCHA Top Defensive Forward as a senior in 2011-12, and that proved to be a sign of things to come.

Sheahan is big and strong and has outstanding hockey sense in all three zones. His quick stick is a major asset in the faceoff circle and serves him well breaking up plays and pickpocketing the opposition.

But just because Sheahan has developed the defensive side of his game so proficiently doesn’t necessarily mean all hope is lost of him becoming an offensive contributor. He had 16 points in 24 playoff games en route to a Calder Cup championship last season and has flashed the ability to score. He can use his big body to protect the puck and he drives hard to the net.

Taking Franzen as an example, the big Swedish winger broke into the NHL as a checker and served in a depth role before breaking out with a 27-goal campaign at age 28.

“His hockey sense and his skill are underrated right now, but over time, when he solidifies himself as a player, you’ll see a little bit more offensive production,” Wright said.

With his waiver exemption set to expire after this season, Sheahan is expected to graduate to Detroit in 2014-15.

NOTES: Right-winger Anthony Mantha (Val-d’Or, QMJHL) finished the CHL’s Canada-Russia Super Series with two goals and an assist in two games for Team QMJHL. Wright told Hockey Prospect Radio that Mantha reminds him of former Rocket Richard Trophy winner Rick Nash. “The ability to score goals and to beat guys one-on-one — there are a lot of similarities,” said Wright, who played with Nash from 2000 to 2004 in Columbus. Wright cautioned Mantha isn’t quite at Nash’s level as a prospect — Nash was the first overall pick in 2002 — and that Mantha needs to learn to be a “consistent, all-around player” who plays 200 feet of the ice … Goaltender Jake Paterson (Saginaw, OHL) suffered a 3-2 shootout loss for Team OHL in the Super Series on Nov. 25. He stopped 21 of 23 shots and turned aside six of eight shootout attempts and did what he could to assert himself as a candidate for Canada’s world junior team … Right-winger Zach Nastasiuk (Owen Sound, OHL) appeared in one Super Series contest and didn’t record a point … Defenseman Mitchell Wheaton (Kelowna, WHL) suffered an upper-body injury on a hit from behind last week and could miss significant time. Wheaton sat out half of his draft year with a shoulder injury and was hoping to bounce back this season … Right-winger Trevor Parkes (Toledo, ECHL) leads the Walleye in scoring with 10 goals among 17 points in 13 games. In his short time with Toledo over three seasons, he has scored 28 goals and 51 points in just 36 contests and is deserving of an AHL job … Right-winger Mitchell Callahan (Grand Rapids, AHL) is doing everything he can to prove his worth to the Red Wings. He notched a hat trick on Nov. 20 and has eight goals and four assists along with a team-best plus-10 rating and 27 penalty minutes in 19 games. He’s the third highest scoring forward on the active roster behind Tomas Jurco and Teemu Pulkkinen … Jurco took over the team lead in scoring from Gustav Nyquist and has 10 goals and 12 assists for 22 points in 19 games. Nine of his goals have been recorded in the past 13 games … Defenseman Mike McKee (Western Michigan, NCAA) has been a periodic healthy scratch and his pledge to play a disciplined game appears to have gone out the window with 40 penalty minutes in eight contests … Defenseman Ben Marshall (Minnesota, NCAA) is known for his offense, dropped the gloves and fought on Nov. 23. He has two goals and two assists in 12 games … Defenseman Nick Jensen (Toledo, ECHL) made his season debut last week. He had been out since July with a shoulder injury.

Sarah Lindenau contributed to this report.

SKATERS: REGULAR-SEASON REPORT

NAME TEAM LEAGUE LEVEL GP G A P PIM +/- SOG
Almquist, Adam Grand Rapids AHL PRO 16 0 11 11 14 0 34
Callahan, Mitchell Grand Rapids AHL PRO 19 8 4 12 27 +10 32
Jurco, Tomas Grand Rapids AHL PRO 19 10 12 22 8 +9 54
Marchenko, Alexey Grand Rapids AHL PRO 19 1 9 10 4 +7 14
Sheahan, Riley Grand Rapids AHL PRO 16 3 5 8 8 +2 23
Sproul, Ryan Grand Rapids AHL PRO 19 5 8 13 8 +10 43
Glendening, Luke Grand Rapids AHL PRO 12 3 4 7 14 +5 14
Jarnkrok, Calle Grand Rapids AHL PRO 19 6 5 11 6 +10 32
Pulkkinen, Teemu Grand Rapids AHL PRO 19 7 6 13 12 +8 39
Frk, Martin Grand Rapids AHL PRO 6 0 0 0 6 -3 3
Tvrdon, Marek Grand Rapids AHL PRO 1 0 0 0 0 0 3
Ferraro, Landon Grand Rapids AHL PRO 16 3 3 6 8 -1 45
Aubry, Louis-Marc Grand Rapids AHL PRO 1 0 0 0 5 0 1
Fournier, Gleason Grand Rapids AHL PRO 5 0 0 0 0 +3 3
Nestrasil, Andrej Grand Rapids AHL PRO 17 2 3 5 10 +4 17
Ouellet, Xavier Grand Rapids AHL PRO 17 1 4 5 2 +8 24
Nedomlel, Richard Grand Rapids AHL PRO 3 0 0 0 2 -2 1
Parkes, Trevor Toledo ECHL PRO 13 10 7 17 8 +6 51
Frk, Martin Toledo ECHL PRO 6 3 4 7 8 -2 10
Nicastro, Max Toledo ECHL PRO 13 0 4 4 4 0 22
Nedomlel, Richard Toledo ECHL PRO 4 1 1 2 18 +1 2
Tvrdon, Marek Toledo ECHL PRO 9 4 2 6 4 -5 19
Aubry, Louis-Marc Toledo ECHL PRO 1 1 1 2 0 +2 4
Jensen, Nick Toledo ECHL PRO 1 0 0 0 0 +2 0
Mantha, Anthony Val-d’Or QMJHL CHL 25 25 31 56 26 +7 146
Hudon, Philippe Victoriaville QMJHL CHL 20 8 3 11 35 -5 48
Athanasiou, Andreas Barrie OHL CHL 24 10 18 28 30 +5
Nastasiuk, Zach Owen Sound OHL CHL 25 9 12 21 10 -6
Bertuzzi, Tyler Guelph OHL CHL 24 7 23 30 38 +7
McNulty, Marc Prince George WHL CHL 24 5 7 12 44 +2
Wheaton, Mitchell Kelowna WHL CHL 12 0 6 6 14 +2
Janmark, Mattias AIK SEL EUR 22 12 8 20 24 -3 57
Backman, Mattias Linkoping SEL EUR 24 2 5 7 8 +1 29
Melen, Hampus Tingsryds SWE-J20 EUR-JR 11 0 5 5 14 -6 17
Bodin, Rasmus Linkoping SWE-J20 EUR-JR 14 0 2 2 2 -3 5
De Haas, James Clarkson ECAC NCAA 14 2 3 5 10 -2 20
Marshall, Ben Minnesota BIG-10 NCAA 12 2 2 4 27 +4 25
McKee, Mike W. Michigan BIG-10 NCAA 8 0 0 0 40 0 0
Pope, David W. Kelowna USHL/JR-A JR-A 13 7 5 12 2

GOALIES: REGULAR SEASON REPORT

NAME TEAM LEAGUE GP W L O/S SO GAA SV%
Paterson, Jake Saginaw OHL 18 10 7 1 0 3.38 .907
Coreau, Jared Grand Rapids AHL 1 0 1 0 0 3.82 .846
Mrazek, Petr Grand Rapids AHL 10 7 2 1 1 2.11 .925
Coreau, Jared Toledo ECHL 6 1 3 2 0 4.27 .872
29 Comments
  1. Patrick says:

    I do agree with you Shawn, but keep in mind, these articles aren’t here to say how bad players are…

  2. ScottD says:

    Just wanted to say a couple things here. First Happy Thanksgiving. Second I want to apologize for a couple posts that have since been removed. Someone here sort of baited me with a post that has since been removed thankfully. I retaliated and said some things I probably should not have said. I also got another member here sort of involved and I will apologize to him as well. As I think about it I’m kind of embarrassed. So if anyone read my post last night before it got removed I apologize. Also thank you to whoever deleted the posts that should never have been on here to begin with, both mine and the other person’s. I will make sure to be more respectful in the future.

  3. admin says:

    We regularly post articles detailing players’ weaknesses and what they need to do better. The implication that these articles are here to say how *good* the prospects are is false. — RWC Staff

  4. RW19 says:

    Not sure why there is so much dislike for Sheahan. The games can be seen on-line, sometimes free and the Griffins have excellent highlight packages. The guy is filling a specific role for the team and does it well. He is a very good skater and he can shoot it. he is very reliable defensively … Basically tons of upside.

    I don’t think he’s far from the NHL and I would not surprised if he is the third or fourth line checking winger in Detroit next year. I could see them starting him there and working him slowly into the C role. His success would make Andersson expendable I.e. great trade material.

  5. stytzer says:

    Had a little time on my hands today, so for the fun of it, I tried to analyze the draft success of the Wings compared to other teams. All information was copied from http://www.eliteprospects.com and included data (as per today) of every player drafted since the legendary 1989 draft. Make of it what you want (these are my conclusions and what I found interesting), but should any of you want a copy of the spreadsheet, just let me know.
    In the past 25 drafts the Wings have drafted 220 players. 67 of those played at least 1 game in the NHL giving the Wings a success rate of 30.45%. That’s the lowest of any team with the highest being 45.90% (Avalanche/Nordiques). The league average is exactly 39.00% (2.430 out of 6.230 playing at least one game).
    Knowing that the Wings like to keep their players in the Minors for as long as possible (and with the current crop of prospects, the number of players making the NHL will certainly increase over time; either with Detroit or somewhere else), I tried to see what the numbers would look like, if the last 5 drafts were left out. The Wings then improved to 33.88%, but the league average rose to 43.22% and the Wings still being the least successful. Especially hurting the stat are the drafts in 1996 (1 out of 9 players), 2000 (2 of 11) and 2004 (1 of 8).
    But making the NHL doesn’t necessarily equal success. 4 of 8 players (50%) drafted in 1997 played a total of 197 games! Compare that to 2004 where 1 (Franzen) out of 8 has played 534 games and counting. Or compare it to 1989 and 2002 where the success rate was the same (50%), but the quality of the players so much better.
    Btw. Does anyone remember the first round picks Bowen (92), Golubovsky (94), Kuznetzov (95) & Wallin (96)? The last three did make the big league, but combined for just 241 games (ouch)!
    So perhaps one should rather take a look at the numbers of games played per player (choosing quality over quantity)? And by doing that you get a completely different and far more enjoyable picture.
    The 2.430 players making the NHL have averaged 251 games. The 67 Wings drafted players have an average of 361 games, which by far is the highest number (San Jose is no. 2 with an average of 304). This is of course inflated by the 1989 draft, where 4 players played more than 1.000 games (but at the same time hurt by the injuries to Fischer and Konstantinov). But leaving the 1989 draft out “only” drops The Wings to 304 (the same as San Jose and thus still league best). Looking only at the 1990-2008 drafts, the Wings improves to, what remains a league best, 331 games per player. I know this isn’t fair to the expansion teams (Jackets, Wild etc.), but compared to the rest of the league it should be OK.
    Another interesting stat is that of the 67 players, 22 have so far played more than 500 games. That’s 32.8% which is way better than the league average of 19.8%. Buffalo and San Jose are at 29.2% and 29.4%. This year another 3 players drafted by The Wings will most likely reach 500 games (Kopecky, Hudler and Fleischmann). But none of them are Wings players anymore (and Fleischmann never was).
    Finally a total of 19 players drafted by The Wings are still on NHL rosters (not including Ouellet, Emmerton etc.). 14 with The Wings and 5 with other teams (the abovementioned three plus Filppula and Matthias – not including Knuble, whom I believe will retire, but isn’t so officially).
    It has been quality rather than quantity I guess, so perhaps one could claim that when a Wings drafted player makes his NHL debut, there’s a pretty decent chance that he’ll be around for a while?

  6. Patrick says:

    interesting, thanks for the insight

  7. Dale says:

    After someone wrote something about me recently, I chose to ignore it. Getting down in the mud and filth with someone is not always the best idea..the other person may enjoy it a lot more than you. Happy Thanksgiving to all of the readers, posters and lastly Red Wing fans.

  8. RW19 says:

    @stytzer

    Interesting stuff for sure. The Hockey News has the Wings averaging the 23rd slot in the draft over the periods 1991-2010. During that time they were an exceptionally successful team that won 4 championships and multiple league, conference or division titles.

    The goal was to use the draft by way of trades to enhance a team that was star laden … thanks of course to great previous drafting. They traded a lot of picks over that time span. But it was worth it.

    What I think is remarkable is that if you look at the line up today, you have 14 home grown Red Wings (including the re-acquired Quincey). This is a team that has kept winning even as it lost once-in-a-life-time or HOF type talent (Shanny, Fedorov, Yzerman, Lidstrom for example) and its best talent is still all home grown.

    It’s really been a crazy run since the day Jimmy D came in and had that first monster draft in the summer of 1983: Yzerman, Lambert, Probert, Klima, Kocur … even Stu Grimson!

  9. james v says:

    best comment on the Red Wings drafting and development is their home grown blueline.

  10. Patrick says:

    what about goaltending? Ozzy, Howard, and now Mrazek

  11. Patrick says:

    obviously there is Larsson and McCollum in between, but it is fairly rare that a goalie makes it to the NHL considering how many are drafted

  12. ScottD says:

    Mantha with the hatrick tonight! It’s hard not to get super excited about this kid.

  13. Lukas says:

    As a diehard Red Wings Fan, I look at this current crop of Prospects and get pumped, the raw talent level is through the roof. I believe we are particularly strong on the blueline. I cant wait to see what Sproul can do at the NHL level. As far as future offensive studs are concerned, Jurco and Mantha are guys I can see being big point producers at the NHL-Level. I can’t wait to see what they can do.

  14. Patrick says:

    Mantha and Peterson made the U20 world juniors Team Canada camp roster



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