It’s hard to say that Riley Sheahan was hoping for an injury when he took a PTO with the Buffalo Sabres, but it certainly benefited him when Zemgus Girgensons went down with a hamstring injury that will keep him out the whole year. Just a few days later, the Sabres have signed Sheahan to a one-year, $700K contract for the upcoming season.
The 29-year-old Sheahan isn’t just some minor league journeyman that is getting a chance just before the start of the season. The 2010 first-round pick has played in more than 500 NHL games and twice recorded more than 30 points in a season. Even last year in a depth role with the Edmonton Oilers he managed to score eight times in 66 games, more than Girgensons has tallied in four of his seven seasons in Buffalo. Sure, it seems unlikely that Shehan will be given all of the exact same responsibilities and ice time that Girgensons would have, but he does make a handy replacement to have in training camp, making his PTO quite a savvy move for Sabres GM Kevyn Adams.
A $700K league-minimum contract won’t do anything to the Sabres financial situation and is the lowest amount that Sheahan has signed for in his career. In 2018 he earned himself a $2.1MM deal from the Pittsburgh Penguins and last season brought a $900K contract with Edmonton. If nothing else, that suggests that he could be a nice little bargain piece for Buffalo if he can turn back the clock a few years and reach his former level of play as a responsible two-way pivot.