The Red Wings see Riley Sheahan as a future building block, not so much a present one.

They used Sunday's game at Joe Louis Arena against the Blues, which ended with a 1-0 loss, as a chance to get a look at Sheahan, their first-round pick from three years ago. Coach Mike Babcock judged Sheahan overmatched, and general manager Ken Holland said Sheahan would be going back to Grand Rapids.

"He's going to be a player for us, but he's got to get quicker and play with more pace," Babcock said. "When you're ready, you come here and you show you're ready. And when you're not quite, you come here and you're cautious."

The Wings called up Sheahan, the 21st overall pick from 2010, on Saturday because a couple of banged-up forwards were questionable for the Blues game. Jordin Tootoo ended up sitting out, and Sheahan took over Cory Emmerton's spot on the fourth line.

Sheahan, 21, made his first appearance for the Red Wings exactly one year earlier, against Chicago. Sunday's game was another lesson.

"I just focused on using my body and being a physical presence out there," Sheahan said after playing 6 minutes and change. "I think the biggest thing is just to not think too much.

"You just have to be so much more sound with the puck. So just battling every time you have the puck, every point of possession, is important. It was awesome to play."