For Riley Sheahan last season was a disaster.
He didn’t score until the final game at the Joe and he scored twice. Two goals in 80 games wasn’t enough, considering he went without a goal through 79. Compare that to the two seasons before where he scored 13 goals in 2014-15 then 14 goals. in 2015-16. The Detroit Red Wings were expecting those numbers to improve as he took the next step in his career, instead things regressed in an alarming and unexpected way.
Despite his struggles, Sheahan was still seeing time on the power play, he did improve his faceoff percentage to a career high of 50.64% and of course he never really fell out of favor with head coach Jeff Blashill.
I’m sure a big part of last season was just the mental aspect of it all. Eventually in the beginning of the slump thinking it will come, to midseason wondering what is going on, and all the way to the end where you’re in your on head. It would have done him some good around December and January spend multiple games sitting and watching as a healthy scratch.
After going unclaimed in the expansion draft Sheahan has a chance of redemption in Detroit. He is a 6’2 226lb centerman, which is something NHL teams value. So much so, that as we all know around the trade deadline Sheahan was the subject of many rumors including maybe fetching a 1st round pick in return.
Other NHL teams see something in him. Now the time has come for the Red Wings to use that to to their advantage. We will quickly find out what last season was, meaning a fluke that just got out of hand or something bigger to be concerned with. Blashill and his staff must find out who he gels with well that will not only get him going but his linemates.
It is very much the job of the coaching staff to put the players in the best position to succeed as it it for the players to perform night in and night out.
The problem is the group is the same and if that combination couldn’t be found last season, it doesn’t give us much confidence that it will be found this season. Sheahan is a player who should be providing the Wings with quality secondary scoring. As the two seasons before last it looked like Sheahan was heading in that direction.
The biggest key will be for him to get a goal early in the season and get a few of them at that. He needs to make any power play time he gets as his spot. The Red Wings need an unexpected difference maker to chip in and get one of the worst power plays in the league going again. If Sheahan cannot do that and early on he needs to not be on the power play.
When we all wonder where all the goal scoring will come from? It is players like Sheahan that have to step up.
This is truly a make or break season for Sheahan as the Detroit Red Wings are not in a position to keep a roster spot for Sheahan and hold back someone in Grand Rapids from seeing regular time at the NHL level if Sheahan has a repeat of last season.
Finally, Sheahan also will need to take the next step and have another career high in faceoff percentage showing he is advancing and improving each season in that area.
How many goals will Riley Sheahan score this season?
This poll is closed