#4 – Crowded Lower Lines
We all know Stanley Cups are won by the lower lines of a team. We also Andrew Shaw has made his bones with the ‘Hawks as a lower line grinder; keeping pressure on opponents’ top lines, clogging up the crease, and occasionally scoring a goal here and there. This season Shaw’s past success earned him a chance to skate on the top line with Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa in an attempt to fill the void at left wing left by Brandon Saad and Patrick Sharp.
While Shaw has been fairly successful on his new line, the lower lines haven’t exactly been missing him. The third and fourth lines, though not perfect, have shown tremendous potential and flashes of brilliance without Shaw. The varying degrees of success experienced by the likes Phillip Danault, Dennis Rasmussen, Richard Panik, and even Brandon Mashinter sans Shaw does raise questions regarding his expendability. While Shaw certainly makes the lower lines more effective, it’s been demonstrated their success are by no means dependent on his presence.
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