During the 2018-19 season, forward Riley Sheahan experienced a lot of lows, which included a trade to the Florida Panthers in the second half of the year.
His poor play only lasted so long as he was dealt alongside teammate Derick Brassard to the Florida Panthers on February 1, 2019, in exchange for forwards Jared McCann and Nick Bjugstad (along with three other picks heading in FLA’s direction).
With the Panthers, Sheahan received time in the bottom six (notably on the third line) and started where he left off with Pittsburgh.
Although, despite given the opportunity to play above some youngsters on the third line, Sheahan couldn’t quite cut it, as he closed out the season with 2G, 8A, and 10 points in 33 games with the Cats.
Ultimately, Sheahan hasn’t quite found his footing and hasn’t really been to his best since 2017-18, where he put together a 32-point season with the Penguins who acquired him from the Detroit Red Wings in that same season.
Sheahan, who’s currently 27-years-old, just doesn’t fit the Panthers system and doesn’t embody what the Panthers are looking for on their bottom two lines.
The Canadian-born centerman isn’t particularly fast, nor is he skilled enough by any stretch of the imagination. Judging from his play all the way back in Detroit, Sheahan struggles to find consistency and isn’t able to hold still in one system for more than a couple of seasons.
Now that his contract has officially come to an end, it would be best for both parties alike to go in their separate directions.
However, based on how Dale Tallon views and speaks about the 27-year-old, there’s a good chance that Sheahan could be back in a Panthers uniform for another season.
Regardless, if the Panthers want to put together a strong bottom six moving forward, then they’re going to have to part ways with Riley Sheahan come July 1st and use what’s available within their minor system.
Based on what’s currently in their farm, the Panthers already have the talent to fully replace Sheahan on the bottom two lines.
The Cats possess youngsters who are faster, younger, fresher, and who are cheaper than what Sheahan will command on the open market, and most importantly, who will produce and provide more than what Sheahan would come next fall.
If the Panthers are smart, then they would make the sensible decision in parting ways from forward Riley Sheahan completely.
With forwards in their minor system who are already good enough to play in the bottom six and who bring more than what Sheahan would, the Cats really shouldn’t be wasting their money nor time on bringing back a forward who doesn’t fit into their system or plan.