Offseason Evaluation: Riley Sheahan

Bruce Bennett

Number 15 on the ice, and number 1 in our hearts.

Season Team Lge GP G A Pts PIM +/-
2013-14 Detroit Red Wings NHL 42 9 15 24 6 8

Going into the 2013-2014 season, before the surge of comicality that was 421 Man Games Lost, Riley Sheahan was one of the players I was having a tough time fitting into the picture going forward for the Wings. Before this season, Riley had only played two NHL games, and only saw a total of 12:50 of ice-time in those games combined. We all know the story with this season, and what happened. The youth movement came, and it made an impact. Right smack-dab in the center of this evolution, stood the 6'2 212 lbs. 22 year old from St. Catharines, Ontario.

What did we know about Riley before this season? Well we certainly all knew about his misfortunes with being arrested for a DUI, but outside of that, we really didn't know much. Before coming to Grand Rapids, Sheahan played for Notre Dame and put together 64 points in 114 games with the Fighting Irish. Once he got acquainted with his future as a pro, Riley put up 56 points in 110 regular season games, and helped the Griffins to a Calder Cup Championship with 16 points in 24 games. So as I said before, coming into this season I had no idea where he was going to fit in.. He was given a chance due to injuries, and now as it stands today, I have no idea where he DOESN'T fit in going forward. Sheahan put up 24 points in 42 games, averaging about 14:10 of ice-time per game and had 5.8 shots/60 minutes, .89 goals/60 minutes, and 1.48 assists/60 minutes. His penalty differential was +8, and he ended his regular season with a 15.3 shooting percentage.

Fancy Stats:

You knew this was coming, eh? The Kid Line was fancy stats porn for Red Wings fans. While they thrived off of using speed and skill against lesser competition, regardless of how you look at it, they made a massive impact. In the middle of this youth supremacy, Sheahan acted as the anchor. Believe it or not, according to Behind The Net, Riley was in the top 15 centers with 40+ GP for On-Ice Corsi at 13.77/per 60 minutes. I took 25 regular season games at random and graphed out how he fared in Corsi (Data is in terms of all situations):


Data provided by
As you can see, very seldom did he go below 50% in these 25 games that were chosen. Riley finished his 42 game season with a team-best (players playing 25+ games) 56.4 Corsi%, and second-best Corsi percentage relative to team's Corsi% when he is not on the ice. In five playoff games, he was an absolute possession monster posting a 60.4 Corsi%.

Data provided by
Here we get a handle on what Sheahan's usage looks like. The chart shows that he is strongly favored to start in the offensive zone. For example, Mike Babcock favors to have him take the offensive zone face-off, as opposed to a face-off in his own zone. This shows that Riley is a bit more sheltered when it comes to competition, but he pulls out a very favorable CorsiFor %. To be clear, the blue color indicates that good things are happening when the player is on the ice, the location of the circle indicates where he is often starting. Henrik Zetterberg is amazing, but that's for a different post. The Kid Line was sheltered from tougher competition, and that's where their skill flourished. I imagine Sheahan's QoC(quality of competition) will raise as his career progresses.

In-depth shooting data:

(Data may  differentiate slightly as they are from two different websites)

2013-2014 Red Wings 42 9 59 27 20 106 15.30% 55.70% 25.50% 18.90% 18.20% 40.00%
2013-2014 Playoffs Red Wings 5 0 9 2 4 15 0.00% 60.00% 13.30% 26.70% 0.00% 0.00%

Data provided by


It's clear that Riley Sheahan has solidified his spot with this organization going forward. the 2010 21st overall pick adds the ability to screen the goalie, win in the face-off circle, serve up highlight-reel passes, and hey wouldn't you know it, he's got a wicked wrist shot too. He ended his 2013-2014 rookie campaign as a .57 point per game player in 42 games. Simple math will reveal that there should be no doubt in anyone's mind that he can provide 50-60 points, breaking down to 20 goals/30-40 assists in an 82 game season. He holds RFA status, and I expect Detroit to offer him a contract along the lines of $1.9mill to $3mill over two or three years. He's only going to get better with time and experience, so this is a player that Detroit needs to invest in along with others like Tomas Tatar and Gustav Nyquist. However, going forward I really want to see Riley start shooting the puck more. He's a very gifted shooter. 59 SOG (106 Corsi For) through 42 games isn't exactly satisfying for me. I'd like to see him with 125+ SOG next season. All-in-all, Riley is a very talented player. I'm glad he's stepped up on the big stage. Excited to see what is to come of him now that he is no longer waiver-exempt.

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