Earlier this season, it looked like Andrew Shaw was headed for a sophomore slump with the Chicago Blackhawks.
He was invisible out on the ice, despite contributing as the third line center and on the first power play unit. He seemed to have lost that chip on his shoulder that made him one of the league’s more exciting rookies to watch in 2011-2012. A couple of weeks later, those struggles are now in the past.
Andrew Shaw has been a large part of the reason that the Blackhawks currently hold the league’s top spot as far as the standings go. He’s been a contributor at full strength, on the power play, and in the extremely effective third line for the Hawks.
On the season, Shaw has 11 points. Not a total that’s going to blow anyone away. But the game that Shaw brings to the ice is much more than what goes down in the box score every night.
The third line has been a tremendous asset to the Hawks this season. The unit of Shaw, Bryan Bickell, and Viktor Stalberg doesn’t always score, but they’ve been terrific on the forecheck, they play physical, generate some scoring chances, and typically help to shift the momentum in the Hawks’ favor.
Despite being a poor choice on the power play initially, Shaw has actually worked his way into being a pretty large asset with the man advantage. He’ll get down in front of the net for the cheap goals, which is how he’s managed to net a pair of power play goals so far this year.
The bottom line is this: there is not an area on the ice that Andrew Shaw will not enter. He’ll play in front of the net. He’ll play in the corners. He obviously plays bigger than his actual size, given his willingness to go to those areas and to drop the gloves with almost anyone.
Shaw has become a big part of the success of the Blackhawks. As long as he can manage to keep his play on the right side of the “edge”, he’s going to continue to be an asset for this team heading into the future.