Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Sheahan Copes with Tough Time

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Sheahan Copes with Tough Time

Article excerpt

Riley Sheahan rediscovered his scoring touch in 2017-18. The year before, while with Detroit, he went 79 games without a goal but scored 11 times in 73 games with the Penguins last season.

It was enough for the Penguins to sign Sheahan to a one-year contract worth $2.1 million over the summer, believing he could help anchor their bottom-six either at center or left wing.

Through 17 games of the 2018-19 season, that hasn't happened. Sheahan has just one goal and two points, and he has looked more like the player the Penguins acquired than the one they helped Sheahan become. If the Penguins are going to turn their season around, they need to figure out soon how to fix Sheahan, because it's not just the offense that has lacked. His defense also has deteriorated.

"I've had a number of conversations with Riley this year," Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. "We believe he's a very good player. We think he's capable of playing to this point than he's played. I think he would say the same thing."

Sullivan is right. Sheahan isn't happy with how he has played and admitted it's been "frustrating."

"But you can't really let it bother you," Sheahan said. "You just have to focus on being strong defensively, winning faceoffs, penalty killing and being smart positionally. Hopefully, the rest will fall into place."

Sheahan might be right. It's technically still early, and there are 65 games to go. But right now Sheahan is on pace for just five goals and 10 points.

More than that .

* During five-on-five play, Sheahan's goals-for percentage (.2353) ranks last among Penguins forwards who've logged at least 100 minutes.

* He has been on the ice for 18 goals-against and just four Penguins goals. Both numbers rank last among regulars at the forward position.

* Sheahan's shot share also has dropped 4.7 percent, while his scoring chances have taken a 3.4-percent hit five-on-five. …

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