When the 2011-2012 Chicago Blackhawks season began, to say that a 5th round 139th pick in the past off season draft would have any type of impact on the season would give many a good chuckle especially with all the veteran guys that Stan Bowman had brought in during the off season. While people were starting to already quit on their New Year’s resolution, Andrew Shaw got the call to the big leagues along with Jimmy Hayes. In his first game against the Philadelphia Flyers, Shaw got into an early fight and scored a goal. Although his experience in the OHL wasn’t very extensive, Shaw was never a big scorer, but as soon as he hit NHL ice he seemed to have the Magic Scoring Touch. Not only did he score but even though he was a little guy, he threw his body around with reckless abandon. Sometimes he had too much Daniel Carcillo in him and Shaw would be well, just reckless!!
Shaw became an instant Chicago celebrity, and along with Jeremy Lin became Twitter Superstars. But just like Linsanity, the Shaw excitement died along with most everything positive in the Blackhawks 9 game losing streak. Shaw started playing like well a fifth round pick and got sent back to Rockford. But two weeks later Shaw was back to stay, and his scoring touch returned. By the end of the season, announcers were all saying the same thing.. What a steal by GM Stan Bowman getting Shaw in the 5th round!
The recklessness reared its ugly Carbomb Jr head in Game 2 of the playoffs against the Phoenix Coyotes when Shaw ran goalie Mike Smith behind the net. Pretty sure an Oscar nomination went out to Smith but Brendan Shanahan still handed out a 3 game suspension to Shaw, and he got to see the Hawks lose two home games from the sky box. What’s really amazing though is that a fifth round pick was really missed come playoff time!
Shaw is signed through 2013-2014 for a cap hit of $565,000
The future is a mystery to me for Shaw. I believe he will get a shot at a full season because he has the tools to be a good 3rd or 4th line guy, but he will always have to keep a chip on his shoulder to continue being successful. If he ever gets complacent he will become a very small Bryan Bickell and will never reach the heights of the phenomenon he became in his rookie season. He has flaws in his game and trouble not playing out of control but can be a piece of the puzzle for a long time if the chip never leaves his shoulder.
Grade- B+ Very successful rookie season