As injuries continue to mount for the Detroit Red Wings, several AHL players are getting a chance to play big minutes in Detroit and make an impact. 2010 first round pick Riley Sheahan has earned his third call-up in three seasons, and has a chance to show that he can handle playing at the highest level. After his one game with the Red Wings last season, Sheahan drew some harsh criticism from head coach Mike Babcock, who said he was “OK” but needed to “get quicker and have more pace to his game.” Things are already looking brighter for Sheahan this season, as he will be sticking around for a second game (Thursday night against the Calgary Flames) and might have a chance to see time with the second power play unit.
Sheahan was seventh in scoring on a Grand Rapids Griffins team that brought home the Calder Cup last season, and he tied for third on the team in postseason scoring with 16 points in 24 games. He was off to a great start this season with six goals and 14 points through 23 games. For all of the prospect depth the Red Wings have, they have had trouble finding centers who are ready to have a scoring impact in the NHL. Cory Emmerton remains in the AHL, while Sheahan and Luke Glendening are getting a shot in Detroit. This is the last year of Sheahan’s entry-level contract, and he needs to show the Red Wings they have a reason to keep him around moving forward. He will play on a line with Jordin Tootoo and Todd Bertuzzi on Thursday, and might see time with Dan Cleary and Tomas Tatar on the power play. Detroit has managed to score only seven goals while losing their last six games, so there’s no better time for Sheahan to get his first NHL point.