I’ve been back and forth on Andrew Shaw more than John Scott was out in out of the press box in his time with the Chicago Blackhawks. But as it’s almost a guarantee that he’ll be in the lineup to start the season, I’ll let it play out before firmly establishing a stance on him.
But that doesn’t mean there aren’t still questions that I have about Andrew Shaw. The biggest one facing him right now is what type of role he’ll be in for the Blackhawks next season, and which line he could end up playing on.
Shaw is a versatile guy, both capable of playing center and wing, but at this point, it looks like his spot with the Hawks is going to be on the wing. That’s where we saw him spend nearly all of his brief time with the Hawks last year. As big of a need is there is at center for this team, his name isn’t on the list for the middle.
Andrew Shaw saw a meteoric rise with the Blackhawks last year, immediately jumping from fifth round draft pick to big time fan favorite at the Madhouse. He finished with a solid 23 points in 37 games including a pair of game winners. He also had 50 penalty minutes, proving his on-the-edge style and willingness to drop the gloves.
It only took that small part of the year to figure it out, but we all know what kind of player Shaw is. He’s a gritty guy, a tough player to play against, he’s physical, and he can add some points to the stat sheet as well. We might see Joel Quenneville experiment with him a bit in the top six, but he looks bound for the third line, where he saw time next to Dave Bolland in the postseason.
Between Bolland and Shaw, opposing forwards are going to have migraines trying to get past the Blackhawks’ third line. The jury is still out on how much offense that line would generate, though. But Shaw’s willingness to get to the corners and play down in front of the net could benefit Bolland’s numbers, depending on who ends up on the left of them (Bryan Bickell).
Shaw is the kind of guy you could put on multiple lines, but the third line seems like the perfect spot for him. When it comes down to it, though, it’s hard to project lines when Coach Q is going to throw them in a meat grinder, anyway.