Hey, remember Andrew Shaw?
Andrew Shaw, that rookie who came out of nowhere last season to become one of Chicago’s most popular athletes? Who played with a chip on his shoulder and had a nose for putting the puck in the net, no matter how clean or dirty it was? The guy who was actually a pretty important part of the Chicago Blackhawks last season? Whatever happened to that guy?
Shaw is still around, but you might not know it. Lost in the hype of the Hawks’ hot start has been the play of Andrew Shaw. The reason for his play getting lost is that there hasn’t exactly been much to be excited about, whether it’s at full strength or on the power play. He’s been the invisible man.
Now, part of the reason for that may be the fact that Shaw is attempting to transition back to center after playing wing for the Hawks the entire time he was up last year. He’s been moved to the third line to replace Dave Bolland in the middle. Replacing Bolland as a defensive center is a tall task for anyone, especially someone as short as Shaw.
But you’d certainly expect the play of a guy who put up 23 points in 37 games last season to be much better than he has been in the early going this season. The Hawks need contributions from all four lines if they hope to be successful. They haven’t exactly gotten it from Shaw and the third unit.
Shaw doesn’t have a single point to his credit yet this season. That comes despite playing next to capable offensive players in Viktor Stalberg and Bryan Bickell, in addition to playing with some of the best players on the planet when he’s logging minutes on the top power play unit.
Whether it’s a matter of a sophomore slump or Shaw not playing with that same chip on his shoulder as last year, he’ll need to figure it out fast. The only reason that he hasn’t been pulled is probably because the Hawks need four centers to ice four lines and they only technically have three. If he doesn’t step his game up, the Hawks might explore other options.
At the very least, the Hawks need to get him off of the power play unit. Throw Brandon Saad or Michael Frolik out there. He’s serving no purpose.
No one is expecting Shaw to put up 50 or 60 points. But anything resembling that player that we saw last year would be nice.