Wings’ Sheahan hopes for carryover from strong finish
Detroit – Riley Sheahan ended last season playing some of the best hockey of his career.
His plan is to carry that over into next season.
“The biggest thing is being more consistent,” said Sheahan, Tuesday’s guest instructor at the Red Wings’ youth clinic. “Trying to start the year like I did at the end of last season, just being more consistent and being confident and trying to be a little more physical and more of a presence.”
Sheahan, 24, finished with a career-high 14 goals and 11 assists last season, the 25 points down 11 from the previous season.
But Sheahan scored five goals and had two assists (seven points) over the final nine games, then had one assist in the five-game series loss to Tampa Bay in the playoffs.
In a season that was often frustrating and disappointing – Sheahan began the season scoring three goals in 33 games – it was heartening to see Sheahan play some of his best hockey when the games meant the most.
Lack of consistency has been an issue in Sheahan’s development throughout his young career, and it’s an issue he’s determined to tackle.
“Definitely experience, and keeping the same mindset, and coming to the rink knowing what you have to do,” said Sheahan, a restricted free agent this summer who signed a two-year contract worth $4.15 million. “It’s just being ready to play and knowing your role.
“This summer has been good so far in terms of the strength aspect (working out). We’ve been on the ice quite a bit. I’m feeling good and we’re all looking forward to getting the season started.”
Sheahan should have a good opportunity to claim the third-line center position, although with so many forwards in camp, it’s not a given.
“It’s tough to say, we have to so many forwards, it’s tough to put anyone in a certain spot,” Sheahan said. “I’m going to play whatever position Blash (coach Jeff Blashill) puts me at, whether it’s wing or center, I’ll be happy and I’m sure in those spots you’re going to play with some good players.”
Sheahan wants to be a player that contributes in a variety of ways.
“Penalty kill, power play, just being more consistent 5-on-5,” Sheahan said. “That’ll be huge. Hopefully I’ll get a chance out there on the power play and continue what I did at the end of the season.”
Entering his fourth NHL season, Sheahan is ready to assume a leadership role.
“The more games you play, you help those younger guys coming in and we have a lot of guys in Grand Rapids that are almost ready to make that jump here,” Sheahan said. “To be able to help and guide them along the way, it’ll be fun.”