The NHL put its 2019-20 season on pause March 12 due to the COVID-19 pandemic but remains hopeful to award the Stanley Cup at some point. Although it's unclear if or when it could return, NBC Sports Chicago will recap the season of each Blackhawks player to date in our "season in review" series. Our final profile is Andrew Shaw.
After spending his first five seasons in Chicago, Andrew Shaw was due for a pay raise in 2016. He had played a large role in helping the Blackhawks win two Stanley Cups in 2013 and 2015 and took a two-year bridge deal going into the 2014-15 season.
But the Blackhawks couldn’t give it to him because they were handcuffed financially and traded the scrappy forward to the Montreal Canadiens for a pair of second-round draft picks. One of those picks was used on Alex DeBrincat, which made the trade worth it.
But ever since Shaw’s departure, the Blackhawks had missed his presence — both on and off the ice. And that was the primary reason why the Blackhawks last summer reacquired Shaw, who set a career high in assists (28) and points (47) during the 2018-19 campaign with Montreal.
"He does go to the net and he does score a lot of his goals from in tight and he gets a lot of shots from around the net and that's where you need to be if you want to score in today's game," GM Stan Bowman said the day of the trade. "I think it's something we probably weren't as strong as last year as we had hoped."
Shaw's start to the season was great. He scored twice in the home opener, which reminded Chicago why he was so beloved. But from then on, Shaw had only one point over his next 11 games and wasn't making an impact in the other areas as much as the Blackhawks would have hoped.
The lowest point of his season came on Nov. 30 when he suffered a concussion, which was a concerning development for a player that has a history of head injuries. He wasn't officially shut down for the season until the end of February.
“He adds an element to our team, both on and off the ice, that we wanted to add," head coach Jeremy Colliton said the day Shaw was officially ruled out for the season. "A lot of personality in the dressing room, holds guys accountable, pushes them, makes them uncomfortable, drags them into the fight, helps to prepare them to play.
"And on the ice, obviously, he plays all situations. He can get your team going on a Tuesday night in November. He can get the group engaged and obviously we miss that. The type of player he is and the type of personality he is and the respect he has amongst the group is big.”
Shaw is still working out and staying in shape during the COVID-19 pandemic, and a source told NBC Sports Chicago in March he was feeling much better. But, given his injury history, his future in the NHL remains unclear and is a question the Blackhawks and Shaw must address before the start of the 2020-21 season, whenever that may be.