Fans in the Windy City have a tendency to latch onto players, no matter how great or mediocre they may be, and turn them into folk heroes. Such is the case with Chicago Blackhawks forward Andrew Shaw.
Shaw did some very nice things for the Hawks in 2011-2012, all of which were surprising. Given the fact that he was a fifth round draft pick last summer, him even cracking the NHL lineup in his first year was impressive enough.
Similar to a Daniel Carcillo, Shaw made his mark as a gritty guy willing to drop the gloves at any time, but adds a bit of skill to the mix as well. The Shaw we saw last year was the type of guy who plays on the edge and shows a willingness to get to the dirty areas on the ice.
I’m not trying to discount anything Shaw did last year. But is he the player that Hawks fans think he is? Probably not.
It’s unlikely that Andrew Shaw will ever skate in the top six for these Hawks, or wherever his career may take him. Sure, his game still has a bit of developing to do, but his skill set is not one that will turn him into an offensive force next season, or at any point down the road.
What Shaw is likely going to be is just the player he’s compared to most often: Dan Carcillo. He’ll add sandpaper to the mix and will be a nice guy to have in the locker room. But is he a guy that is crucial to the success of the team and will make a huge impact on a night-to-night basis? Probably not.
Nonetheless, Shaw is very likely set to be back in the Blackhawks’ lineup for this season. But with the team completely healthy heading into the new year, he might not see some of the minutes he saw last season. He’s proved everyone wrong to this point, and I look forward to him potentially proving me wrong in 2012-2013.