The Hockey Spy’s 2010 NHL Entry Draft Prospect Profile – Riley Sheahan

Christopher Ralph is a sportswriter with a focus on hockey prospects, the entry draft, as well as occasional Flames coverage here at THW.

“Full Potential” Prospect Profile:

Please “Click Here” for “Notes Up Front” and the “Legend” for various topics covered below in my “Live Updated” NHL 2010 Draft Preview article.

Riley Sheahan (Click on name for up- to- date stats)

Sheahan in the mold of Ryan Kesler? {Photo: Brian Poulsen - Flickr}

Date of birth: December 07, 1991
Place of birth: St. Catharines, Ont., Canada
Ht: 6-1.5 Wt: 202
Shoots: L

Position – C
2009-10 Team: Notre Dame (NCAA)

NHL Status: Draft Eligible 2010


Riley is a playmaking pivot with a great frame who can anchor possibly any of a team’s four lines given his two-way ability. He has the potential to play in all situations at any point in a game.

His offensive output has left hockey scouts and experts alike somewhat puzzled trying to predict how his offensive game will develop and what he is capable of producing at the next level. It should be noted he was one of the youngest players in the NCAA. He also tied teammate Kyle Palmieri, who was a first rounder last year, for the team rookie scoring league.

His defensive ability is not questioned. He already plays a great defensively mature game – a rarity for a player of his age.

Sheahan’s point totals might also be a victim of the defensive first style that Notre Dame implements. One has to wonder if he might just end up in the OHL next season with the Erie Otters, who hold his rights. The development of his offensive game would likely be a major benefactor.

He was actually the fifth ranked NA skater according to Central Scouting’s mid-term rankings, but dipped to 22 in the final rankings. Whether his stock has dropped enough to take him out of the first round altogether remains to be seen.

Sheahan still has to develop his game and improve decision making on and off the ice. Here’s a quick review of an incident from earlier this year which I’m sure Sheahan was grilled on during team interviews at the NHL Scouting Combine.

NHL prospects Palmieri, Sheahan arrested in Indiana (TSN)

Two NHL prospects, both freshmen at Notre Dame, were arrested on Sunday in South Bend, Indiana, a local newspaper reported.

Sheahan, 18, is charged with public intoxication and minor alcohol consumption, while 19-year-old Palmieri is charged with two counts of resisting arrest and minor alcohol consumption.

According to a police report, an officer saw Palmieri, Sheahan and a third person standing in the back of a pickup truck at approximately 2:30am et on Sunday. When approached by an officer, Palmieri tried to run away, which led to a struggle, the paper reported.  Then Palmieri allegedly reached for the officer’s Taser.

Scout’s Honor:

“He’s so mature for a kid his age — I’m overwhelmed with that. He’s equally good in all three zones and goes to the front of the net. He’s very conscious in the defensive zone and down behind the net in the defensive corner — he makes certain his team isn’t outnumbered. In the neutral zone, he makes all kinds of things happen but will get back and turn a transition if needed.”
– Jack Barzee, NHL Central Scouting

Sheahan has great instincts, which allowed him to survive and his playmaking skills and ability to make others around him better is what warranted his ice time.”

– McKeen’s 2010 Draft Guide

“Has a great combination of size, puck skills, and hockey sense. Strong two-way center plays a very mature, advanced game and is defensively sound. … Excellent anticipation and has an innate sense for reading the play and understanding game situations. Uses size to protect the puck with leverage and carry defenders to net. Deftly gives/receives passes. Soft hands with excellent vision and imaginative playmaking touch.”
– Red Link Report 2010 Draft Guide

“A gifted playmaker, Sheahan is a decent skater that possesses excellent vision on the ice. … Has good puckhandling skills, carries the puck with speed and uses his size effectively. He skates well through checks and
shields the puck well.”
– International Scouting Services

“He has probably dropped because of his lack of production, but he’s learning to play away from the puck.”
A scout in The Hockey News Draft Preview 2010

Current Season:

2009-10: Registered 17 points (6  goals, 11 assists) in 37 games in freshman season with Notre Dame (CCHA).  He tied Kyle Palmieri (the 26th overall pick by Anaheim in the 2009 entry draft) for the team’s rookie lead in points with 17 in 37 games. In 2008-09 recorded 73 points (27 goals, 46 assists) in 40 games with St. Catharines of the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League.


Scouting Combine Performance (After Day 1): Sheahan came into the interview room wearing Brandon Gormley’s #27 over top of his #141 to try and have a little fun with the media. He mentioned having spoken with the OIlers and said he would be honoured to be part of the organization.

  • 9th in Anaerobic Fitness: Mean Power Output (watts/kg)
  • 6th in Musculoskeletal: Standing Long Jump (in)
  • 4th in Musculoskeletal: Bench Press (# of 150 lb reps)
  • 4th in Musculoskeletal: Bench Press (lb/lb body weight)
  • ·Tied for 10th in Musculoskeletal: Push-Ups (max #)

International Tournaments: n/a

ETA = 4 yrs

Risk-Reward Analysis: Risk = 2/5   Reward = 4/5

NHL Potential: 2nd line Two-way Center


  • Puck protection
  • Playmaking
  • Good size
  • Great instincts
  • Good vision
  • Strong on his skates
  • Outstanding defensive acumen
  • Work Ethic
  • Versatile (even filled in on defense for Notre Dame due to injuries

Flaws/Aspects He Needs To Work On:

  • Continue to train to increase strength and mass and thus be able to add physical element to his game and be more of a threat in front of the net.
  • Skating – a good skater for his size; simply needs to work on foot speed.
  • Finishing skills
  • Questionable offensive upside
  • Decision making on and off the ice

Fantasy Hockey Potential: Offensive = 7.75/10   Defensive = 8.5/10

NHL Player(s) Comparison:

  • I’ve read the comparisons with Rick Nash, but honestly don’t see it.
  • A left shooting Ryan Kesler.


YouTube player

Interesting Notes:

  • Following the 2008-09 season, Sheahan was awarded an Ontario Hockey Association (OHA) Junior B Top Prospects Award and received the honour this past summer at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto
  • Sheahan has an athletic family background. His mom, Peg, won a Canadian Junior Softball Championship and was an Ontario Women’s University Basketball All-Star for Brock University alongside his aunt Patti. His uncle, Rocky DiPietro, played in the Canadian Football League for Hamilton and was inducted into the CFL Hall of Fame in 1997. And his second cousin, Brock Sheahan, graduated from Notre Dame University in 2008 and is now a defenseman in the ECHL for Cincinnati.

Other Rankings:

CSB: 22-NA

ISS: 22

TSN: 21 {Bob MacKenzie – June}

McKeens: 26

THN: 19

THW:  30 (June  ’10) {Christopher Ralph }

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This document is the intellectual property of Christopher Ralph and cannot be used or duplicated in any way without expressed written consent. Any use of this document without the expressed written consent of Christopher Ralph will result in public exposure and legal prosecution.

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