GMJR has pulled the trigger on the first Penguins trade of the season, acquiring center Riley Sheahan and a 2018 5th round draft pick from the Detroit Red Wings in exchange for Scott Wilson and a 2018 3rd round draft pick.
First let’s look at what Detroit gains in this transaction:
1) They turn a 5th round pick into a 3rd round pick. Pretty straightforward.
2) They gain $1,450,000 in salary cap space. This is important because Detroit has just agreed to a contract with Andreas Athanasiou worth a reported $1.387mil. and were unable to make the contract official due to the salary cap ceiling.
3) Scott Wilson, a 25 year old rugged winger with Stanley Cup experience (and a ring). He best fits in the bottom six, but his speed and fore-checking ability allow him to move up into the 2nd/3rd line scoring wing position if necessary. He is solid in the corners and was, at times, likened to a poor-man’s Chris Kunitz.
Now to how this affects the defending Stanley Cup Champions…
Sheahan has been a bit of an enigma for the Red Wings. He had 3 solid years:
2013-14 42GP 9G, 15A
2014-15 79GP 13G, 23A
2015-16 81GP 14G, 11A
And then a disastrous year:
2016-17 80GP 2G, 11A (note: he didn’t score a goal until the last game of the season)
13 points for a Detroit team that missed the playoffs for the first time in 25 years. The team scored about 30 goals fewer and allowed about 20 goals more than the league average. Is a drop in stats for a bottom six forward really that surprising?
Take a look at Sheahan’s shooting percentage through the years:
2013-14 – 15.3
2014-15 – 10.6
2015-16 – 10.9
2016-17 – 1.8
The opportunities were there, but Sheahan just couldn’t bury the puck. And apparently neither could his teammates.
The Penguins have a knack for taking players in bad situations and making something good out of them (see: Justin Schultz, Phil Kessel,
Antti Niemi). Sheahan will slide into the 3rd line center spot flanked by a combination of Carl Hagelin, Patric Hornqvist, Jake Guentzel, Conor Sheary, or Bryan Rust (depending on if the team decides to show up to play that night or if Crosby takes a 10-minute misconduct penalty 1:36 into the game after being called for a penalty 39 seconds prior which the opposing team scores a PPG, if that’s not too specific) which should ease the pressure and allow him to just play simple hockey.
The Penguins have had three 3C’s between 2006-07-2016-17 (Jordan Staal – 6 seasons, Brandon Sutter – 3 seasons, Nick Bonino- 2 seasons). Those three players averaged roughly 19G, 19A per season (minimum 60GP). Those numbers may be a little lofty for the newest Penguin, but if Sheahan can chip in 25 to 30 points I think it will be a success.
Sheahan’s presence also creates an internal competition for the 4th line spot between Greg McKegg and Carter Rowney. Both skaters have similar stats through the first 9 games and play similar styles. McKegg gets my initial vote having more offensive potential, but I imagine the two will platoon at 4C.
“Hey! What about the 5th round pick?” you may ask. The Penguins haven’t had much luck in the 5th round beyond a couple AHL players, Jake Muzzin (who went unsigned, re-entered the draft and went un-picked, and finally signed as a free agent by LA), and Chad Johnson (never played for Penguins). This pick most likely gets flipped down the road for another need.
So, who wins the trade?
Both teams get exactly what they need.