On Monday, 29-year old forward Andrew Shaw decided to hang up the skates after years of concussion issues. Although his career in the NHL was shorter than expected, he will always be remembered for his role in the Chicago Blackhawks two Stanley Cups back in 2013 and 2016. He wasn’t a gifted goal-scorer or a wizard with the puck on his stick by any means.
He was a warrior.
Andrew Shaw is calling it a career at age 29 due to concussions. When I think of Andrew Shaw I think of a warrior. I guy who truly gave it his all when the #Blackhawks needed him the most in their cup runs. If this is not the most bad-ass pic ever, I don't know what is. pic.twitter.com/jkYccpPRoj — Stefen Rosner (@stefen_rosner) April 26, 2021
The 139th pick in the 2011 NHL Draft worked hard to make a name for himself in the NHL. He was always the first one to have a teammate’s back and the last one an opponent would want to mess with. Due to that, Shaw was able to build a career that allowed him to play 544 regular-season games and 72 more in the post-season.
Shaw in Chicago
Over that 10-year stretch, Shaw spent two stints with the Blackhawks. During his first stint, 2011-2016, the Ontario-native averaged 14 goals a season as the team made the playoffs every year. He was a versatile individual for his head coach Joel Quenneville, who could slot him anywhere in the lineup without a worry. Regardless of his situation in the lineup, Shaw always brought a fire, an immeasurable asset that every hockey club needs to succeed.
One of his most significant moments in a Blackhawks uniform came in game one of a back and forth 2013 Stanley Cup Finals. Shaw sent the United Center crowd into a frenzy as he netted the triple-overtime winner at the United Center.
Shaw was not known for his goal-scoring prowess, but in the biggest moment under the brightest lights, he raised his compete level and put himself in a position to succeed. That is all he has ever done at the NHL level.
Northbound to Montreal
After the 2015-16 regular season, the Blackhawks had to shed cap, and 24-year old Shaw’s restricted-free agent tag forced general manager Stan Bowman to make a tough decision. He was dealt to the Montreal Canadiens for two second-round selections in the 2016 NHL draft. Shaw and Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin settled on a six-year extension.
In his first season in the red and blue, 2016-17, Shaw put up 12 goals and 17 assists in 68 games. The Canadiens finished the season in the top spot in the Atlantic but were eliminated in six games by the Rangers, who held the top wild-card spot. Shaw failed to record a point.
That was the last time the Habs made it to the playoffs in Shaw’s tenure.
Beginning of Shaw’s end
In the summer of 2019, Shaw was re-acquired by the Blackhawks, as he was back where he truly belonged. Unfortunately, head injuries would start to take a toll and over the last two seasons, Shaw played a combined 40 games.
In Dec of 2019, Shaw sustained a concussion that kept him out for the rest of the season. He returned this season, and everyone was ecstatic.
But then, on Feb. 11 of this year, the worst thing happened.
This is where Andrew Shaw (concussion protocol) was elbowed in face by Dallas Stars defenseman Joel Hanley during Tuesday's game. #Blackhawks pic.twitter.com/866AZi7lkJ — Charlie Roumeliotis (@CRoumeliotis) February 11, 2021
It was yet another concussion for Shaw and one that led to his decision to hang the skates up. An unfortunate end to a great NHL career.
This city loves you right back, Shawzy!#Blackhawks pic.twitter.com/lEAKtmoQBn — Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) April 26, 2021
Andrew Shaw will forever be the definition of an Unsung Hero.