Wings lock up one restricted free agent; Sheahan gets $1.9 million

DETROIT >> One down and two to go.

The Wings signed one of their three restricted free agents off last year’s roster, Riley Sheahan, to a two-year worth an average salary cap it of $950,000.

His last three-year deal had an average salary cap hit of $785,000.

Sheahan had nine goals and 15 assists in 42 regular season games last year.

However, like most of the youngsters he struggled in the playoffs. He had no points, was a minus-1 and struggled to win faceoffs.

Sheahan really caught the eye of Wings coach Mike Babcock at last year’s eight-team prospects tournament in Traverse City stating he was the best player throughout the event.

“He’s gotten better and better,” Babcock said last season. “He’s made plays for us and he’s allowed his linemates to play and not worry about the defensive side as much.”

“Your confidence grows when you know your coach feels comfortable with you,” Sheahan said last season.

Because of a rash of injuries at center last season, Sheahan got an opportunity to show how his game had developed and he really impressed.

He was recalled from Grand Rapids in mid-December and was sent back after playing four games. Not even three weeks later he was back with the team and was a fixture in it since Jan. 11.

Sheahan was Detroit’s first round selection (21st overall) in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft and was projected to be a second-line, two-way center.

“Great player, great shot, big body, smart guy,” Tomas Tatar said last season. “I think he’s one of the guys that’s got the whole package.”

With Grand Rapids the year before, Sheahan had 16 goals and 20 assists in 72 games.

“I think my offensive game maybe is leveled up a bit,” Sheahan said. “I think confidence is the biggest thing. Playing with such good players it’s sort of easy to get confidence because they’re always making plays and you always feel like you’re part of the play and then in the O-zone you’re cycling the puck and you’re always on it.”

Sheahan helped lead the Griffins to winning the Calder Cup two seasons ago.


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