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Sheahan is latest Grand Rapids import

Rookie center will replace Johan Franzen in Wings' lineup against the Ducks

Tuesday, 12.17.2013 / 2:26 PM ET / News
By Andrea Nelson  - Editorial Assistant |
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Sheahan is latest Grand Rapids import

Riley Sheahan has six goals and 14 points in 23 games for the Griffins this season. (Photo by Grand Rapids Griffins)

DETROIT – There was another fresh face in the Red Wings locker room this morning, as center Riley Sheahan was recalled from the Grand Rapids Griffins to make his season debut when Detroit hosts the Anaheim Ducks.

The 22-year-old is the latest addition to the Red Wings roster from their minor league affiliate due to a host of injuries currently plaguing the team.

“You kind of get to know each of the guys a little bit during training camp and you never want to see anyone go down hurt, but for us in Grand Rapids, you’ve just got to be ready for the opportunity that’s there,” Sheahan said. “That’s all we’re going to try to do right now.”

Sheahan was called up on Monday to replace Johan Franzen, who left the game Sunday night against Tampa after being hit in the face by defenseman Radko Gudas early in the second period.

In just his second full AHL season, Sheahan has continued to do just that, recording six goals and eight assists through 23 games. The center also helped the Griffins to a Calder Cup championship last spring, producing 25 points in 72 games, and tied for the AHL rookie lead in the playoffs with 16 points in 24 games.

“We’ve talked to him, he’s played well in the American League, he’s been their best player there the last little bit and we expect him to come in and do what (Tomas) Jurco did and take over,” Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “When you look at the kids we’ve called up from the minors, where they didn’t start in the lineup, (Tomas) Tatar wasn’t in the lineup, Gus (Nyquist) we called up, Jurco played great the other night. Everyone we’ve called up has played great so why wouldn’t he.”

In just his third career game with the Red Wings, Sheahan joins a few of his teammates from Grand Rapids, including Jurco, Luke Glendening and Patrick Eaves, who have all been called up from the Griffins within the last four days. Sheahan also split ice time with Nyquist and Tatar during their time in the AHL, and feels a heightened level of comfort knowing he’s among many friends in the Red Wings locker room.

“There’s a lot of familiar faces and a lot of guys we shared the Calder Cup with last year,” Sheahan said. “That was a special group and some of them are close friends so that definitely helps.

“Last year I played some with Gus and then this year a little bit with Jurcs, even Tats a little bit, too. They’re awesome players and they’re all capable of making plays so being on the line with them was awesome. At the same time seeing them around in the locker room makes you feel a little more comfortable.”

Sheahan, Jurco, Glendening and Eaves were recalled from Grand Rapids to help an injury-ridden Red Wings team that is currently without Henrik Zetterberg (back), Darren Helm (shoulder), Nyquist (groin), Justin Abdelkader (concussion), Stephen Weiss (groin) and Franzen.

Although the addition of several players from Detroit’s minor-league affiliate may have its challenges, it gives every player the opportunity to contribute and leave a lasting impression.

“When you come from down there, you're playing a lot and now, all of a sudden you're here, and it's so different,” Tatar said “You're a little shaky, so maybe you're not playing as much minutes, like down there. You just have to lose it a little bit and try to play a little more confident. But it's pretty hard. The best players in the world just know how to calm down and in certain situations don't put any pressure on yourself and that's the best players in the league."

And Sheahan is more than ready to take advantage of every chance he’s given to play at this level.

“You know you wait for this time throughout the season and just try to play your best at the level you’re at,” he said. “We’ve been fortunate enough to be winning some games and playing with some players in Grand Rapids so yeah I’m really looking forward to starting the game tonight.

“I’m just going to go out there and try to play the same way I’ve been and hopefully it goes well.”




1 WSH 53 40 9 4 175 120 84
2 FLA 54 32 16 6 150 122 70
3 NYR 54 31 18 5 153 135 67
4 NYI 53 29 18 6 150 131 64
5 DET 54 28 18 8 136 132 64
6 BOS 54 29 19 6 159 148 64
7 TBL 53 29 20 4 140 127 62
8 PIT 53 27 19 7 138 135 61
9 NJD 55 27 21 7 122 123 61
10 MTL 55 27 24 4 147 145 58
11 PHI 53 24 20 9 127 138 57
12 CAR 54 24 21 9 130 142 57
13 OTT 56 25 25 6 157 173 56
14 CBJ 56 22 28 6 140 173 50
15 BUF 55 21 28 6 125 151 48
16 TOR 53 19 25 9 122 149 47


D. Larkin 53 18 20 26 38
H. Zetterberg 54 10 27 4 37
T. Tatar 53 16 17 0 33
G. Nyquist 54 14 16 0 30
P. Datsyuk 39 8 21 13 29
J. Abdelkader 54 14 13 -3 27
M. Green 46 4 17 -7 21
N. Kronwall 45 3 14 -10 17
B. Richards 40 5 11 7 16
D. DeKeyser 50 7 8 13 15
P. Mrazek 21 10 4 .934 1.94
J. Howard 7 8 4 .904 2.89