Blackhawks News

Chicago Blackhawks Grades: Andrew Shaw Prices Out

By Colin Likas
Apr 15, 2016; St. Louis, MO, USA; Chicago Blackhawks center Andrew Shaw (65) celebrates with Patrick Kane (88) after scoring a goal against St. Louis Blues goalie Brian Elliott (not pictured) during the third period in game two of the first round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scottrade Center. The Blackhawks won the game 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Billy Hurst-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 15, 2016; St. Louis, MO, USA; Chicago Blackhawks center Andrew Shaw (65) celebrates with Patrick Kane (88) after scoring a goal against St. Louis Blues goalie Brian Elliott (not pictured) during the third period in game two of the first round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scottrade Center. The Blackhawks won the game 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Billy Hurst-USA TODAY Sports /
facebooktwitterreddit

Andrew Shaw‘s Fine Year May Hurt The Chicago Blackhawks

What a strange, strange season Andrew Shaw had for the Chicago Blackhawks. It was actually a pretty normal one, albeit a better run than most any he’d previously had at the NHL level. Then, he let his big mouth get the best of him in Game 4 of the team’s first-round Stanley Cup Playoffs series, and the focus got taken off some of the positive contributions he made on the ice.

Of course, that doesn’t factor into his grade. But on that note, it wasn’t all flowers and sunshine for Shaw. He was whisked all across the lineup, somewhat similar to Teuvo Teravainen. Shaw was on every line except the second and was asked to work with probably as many teammates as anyone not named Teuvo.

It created some good moments for the team, but also some times that showed Shaw wasn’t the man for certain jobs (i.e. top-line left wing). At the end of the day, however, the fact he didn’t have a worse season might mean the Blackhawks can’t afford him moving forward.

chicago blackhawks
Apr 23, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks center Andrew Shaw (65) with the puck during the third period in game six of the first round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the St. Louis Blues at the United Center. Chicago won 6-3. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports /

2015-16 regular-season stats: 78 games, 14 goals, 20 assists, plus-11 rating

2016 postseason stats: 6 games, 4 goals, 2 assists, 0 rating

More from Blackhawks News

Positives

Shaw reached his career high in assists this season with 20, surpassing his previous high of 19 in the 2013-14 season. While he couldn’t beat his career-best point total (39 in 2013-14), he still posted a solid offensive season by his own standards and considering his talents and abilities.

Shaw was actually saddled with more defensive-zone starts than offensive ones in the regular season, beginning 46.8 percent of his starts in the wrong end of the ice. Despite this, he posted a Corsi-for rate of 51.4, which, considering his linemates were a rotating cast, is something Blackhawks fans should definitely take.

He also posted eight of his 34 regular-season points on the powerplay. When you park Shaw in front of the net, he can become useful on the man advantage. I’m sure the Blackhawks coaches tell him as much, but it’s getting Shaw to stay there and not go off acting like he’s Patrick Kane that often proves most difficult. But Shaw did find a bit of a niche in this way.

The playoffs saw Shaw push into the scoring spotlight as the Blues attempted to shut down the likes of Kane and Jonathan Toews, with quite a bit of success. But the grinder Shaw just kept forcing himself to the net and finding ways to beat Brian Elliott when most of the team was struggling to do so. That’s certainly something his agent will point out in contract negotiations with any team.

While this last point ultimately boils down to a negative, Shaw did have to take more faceoffs this season, and he probably did the best we could’ve asked for. Shaw is just not a natural center, no matter how much Joel Quenneville wants him to be. But at least Shaw didn’t lose 75 percent of his draws.

Negatives

The stupid penalties. They just don’t stop, and they make Shaw a really frustrating player. Sure, there are times when he stands up for his teammates and is actually OK in doing so, but there were just so many more times this season when he unnecessarily got too physical and put his team down a man or at 4 on 4. And if I had a nickel for every offensive-zone penalty Shaw took … maybe that’s why Q threw him into the defensive zone for most of his shifts.

Also, if Shaw is going to be utilized as a center on occasion, he needs to get better in the circle. Yes, as I said above, he didn’t lose 75 percent of his draws. But he lost well over half (46.5 percent success rate), and who knows how the next team who has him will utilize him. If it’s the Blackhawks, he’ll probably still be asked to take faceoffs, so he might as well try to get better at them in the offseason.

Honestly, a lot of the negatives about Shaw boil down to his recklessness on the ice and his handling by Q and the Blackhawks staff, the latter of which he can’t control. He did a fine job on offense this season, given that he isn’t some sort of superstar talent like some of his teammates. He was even decent on defense when not asked to play center.

Next: 3 Blackhawks To Watch Next Season

Grade: B+

It’s unfortunate a good season will likely leave Shaw on the outside looking in moving forward (or fortunate, depending on your feelings about Shaw). I still think the Blackhawks will be unable to afford him moving forward, but they could certainly prove me wrong. It’ll be one of the more interesting things to watch this summer. But if 2015-16 was his final season in the Indian Head, it was a good enough one from Shaw.

facebooktwitterreddit