Riley Sheahan is the product of a Red Wings strategy to replace the old Johan Franzen while Franzen was still playing. A sizable center with promising offensive ability, but who starts from a two-way mentality first and foremost, Sheahan has unfortunately made more of a name in less-than-stellar ways which belie how good-not-great he is:
1. A 2012 arrest for driving with a BAC over four times the legal limit while wearing a Teletubby costume (https://www.wingingitinmotown.com/2012/11/27/3698594/red-wings-prospect-riley-sheahan-had-nearly-four-times-the-legal)
2. A 2016-17 disaster season in which he went 81 goal-free games, setting a new record for shots on goal without netting one
3. Looking kinda like Ethan Suplee's jock brother Sheahan's rise in the organization (and him staying on the right path after realizing how lucky he got post-DUI) was well-earned. It was Sheahan's presence that made current Nashville Predators 3C Calle Jarnkrok expendable and who finally got the team to move on from Joakim Andersson. Unfortunately, the role of 3C who can pot double-digit goals while playing responsible defense for better wingers and also kill penalties well was instead given for almost twice Sheahan's cap hit to the 29-year old Darren Helm and Detroit finds themselves with a need to move a guy who has both trade value and lacks a NTC in order to solve roster issues elsewhere. What you're getting in Sheahan is absolutely a 3C and the Calle Jarnkrok comparison remains apt.
If he were capable of wowing you with power forward bullrushes up ice or absolutely sick cross-ice passes, then we wouldn't be talking about him as a 3C to a much better team than Detroit. The thing that stands out most about Sheahan is how he pretty much doesn't stand out. He's got a very good sense for the ice and rarely gets himself caught out of position. His stick skills and passing are just fine and he's good at faceoffs.
Despite last season's abysmal performance, his strong suit remains that he's got a heavy wrister that's hard for goalies to pick up. If you're looking at his size and expecting a crusher, you're going to be disappointed. Sheahan battles along the boards, but he's much better at knowing not to rush after big hits which take him out of position to get back on defense. He should be a great fit in Pittsburgh.
Thanks to WiiM for the detailed look at Sheahan.