The first step of the Wings offseason is underway. Ken Holland took care of the first of a few key RFAs by inking Riley Sheahan to a two year, $2.075 million contract.
#RedWings Riley Sheahan agrees to two-year deal at$2.075 cap hit.
— Ansar Khan (@AnsarKhanMLive) June 15, 2016
Sheahan just concluded his two year, $950,000 contract that was signed after his solid rookie season in 2013-14. There wasn’t any rush to re-sign him, since he was an RFA, but it’s probably a good idea for Holland to sort out his RFAs so he knows what kind of cap situation he is in going into the draft.
Sheahan is coming off of a down year, where after putting up 24 points in 42 games in 2013-14, and 36 points in 79 games in 2014-15, he registered just 25 points in 81 games. He did reach a new career high in goals with 14, while his assist total dropped by more than half of last year, only getting 11.
From an analytical standpoint, Sheahan had his worst possession season in his three year career. He had just a 51.66% 5v5 CF, a 50.07% 5v5 FF, a 48.1% 5v5 SF, and an xGF% of 50.69%. His P160 is also a career low, at a rate of just 0.92. However, he did have a PDO of 98.57, so there should be some expectancy to bounce back.
Chart via Own the Puck
Now, his drop in assists can be explained via his most common linemates. He played the most with Gustav Nyquist and Tomas Tatar, who both suffered from a bad year. When the two goal scorers on your line aren’t scoring, it’s tough to get assists. After that, it’s Darren Helm, Luke Glendening, and Brad Richards, not exactly well known goal scorers these days.
While his most common line with Nyquist and Tatar was a strong possession line, the rest of his ice time saw sub 50% possession, which explains his drop in possession. However, he sees a drop in possession away from any of the good possession players on Detroit, so this year might be more of what to expect of Sheahan from a possession standpoint. Not great, but not terrible.
Regardless, it’s a good signing. $2.075 is a pretty cheap cap hit for a third line center, and two years is a short enough term that if he ends up being a terrible player, it’s not on the books for long enough to kill the team.