In the next couple of summers, some pretty serious names on this Chicago Blackhawks club are up for new contracts. That ranges from the big guns, such as Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, to the youngsters, such as Brandon Saad and Andrew Shaw. Not to mention Niklas Hjalmarsson and Corey Crawford. Most of these guys are no brainers for new deals, as long as the money works.
Shaw, on the other hand, doesn’t have such a secure future with the Blackhawks. There’s little doubt that he’s been a welcome presence on the ice, for the most part, in his time with the Blackhawks. He’s proven an effective player, as long as he’s playing within his mind. He was a key piece down the stretch for the Hawks, coming up with some big playoff goals.
However, some see Shaw as nothing more than an agitator. He’s a liability on the ice, given his penchant for taking penalties at the worst times, many of which are of the boneheaded variety. To a certain extent, that is very true. He does take penalties at the wrong times, and is a player that plays as close to the edge as possible.
In terms of his point production, Shaw isn’t going to be confused for one of the top scorers on the team. He’s good for 10-15 goals, as well as a few points on the second power play unit. What makes him an asset is his willingness to play down around the net, down in the corners, and get under opponents’ skin. He’s fearless.
Whether or not that fearlessness is worth something to the Blackhawks remains to be seen. They have physical, skilled agitators coming up, including 2013 first round draft pick Ryan Hartman, not to mention players that have already logged minutes in the Hawks’ system. It’s also important to note that he is a restricted free agent, increasing the chances he’ll be back.
This will be an interesting development to keep an eye on moving forward. Will the Blackhawks see him as an important piece to keep around, for performance and chemistry purposes? The fact that he’s holding RFA status makes a potential extension less likely, but does increase the chances he could be back on a one or two-year deal next summer.