As Stan Bowman gets closer and closer to his meeting with the Salary Cap Bobs, by now you’ve heard most of the names that are likely to go. Oduya, Leddy, Versteeg, with the latter two being the most likely, with whispers of Rozsival and Bickell behind that.
But should Andrew Shaw be part of this discussion?
The straight numbers wouldn’t be enough like they would be with Leddy, Versteeg, and Oduya. Shaw makes an even $2 million and the Hawks would have to shed a little more, possibly also packaging him with Versteeg. And yet it’s not a name you hear much. But what is Shaw worth to the Hawks, and what might he be worth to another team?
Shaw has basically two full seasons in the NHL, coming up for the last half of ’11-’12, playing the entire season-in-a-can of 2013 and then last year being his first full year in the bigs. In all of those, he’s basically been on a 20-goal season pace, finishing with exactly that last year in his first foray into the 82. Shaw’s 20 goals probably came from a combined 35 feet, as he knows no fear around the net and has something of a sense of when to be there. Five of Shaw’s goals came on the power play, and there are two ways to look at it. He played mostly on the first unit, and you’d like to think a chain-smoking sloth could manage five power play goals when out there between Toews, Kane, Sharp, and Keith. On the other, Jamie Kompon’s power play system didn’t exactly have everyone banging it in so maybe any total is impressive.
Can Shaw keep up that kind of production? Well, his shooting-percentage has remained consistent across parts of three seasons, as well as partial seasons in Rockford. When most of your shots come from within five feet, you’d have to believe he’ll continue to shoot a decent percentage. Shaw is a possession driver as well. In fact, Patrick Kane didn’t have better numbers with anyone else he got to play regularly with, though that isn’t much of a competition, is it? Shaw’s forechecking and constant motor is certainly a help to anyone he plays with.
But this is where Shaw, in theory, should be getting caught up in the numbers game. At times last year, Shaw was used as the #2 center, including at the end of the season against LA. But with the signing of Brad Richards, and the hopeful emergence of Teuvo Teravainen at some point this season, that avenue should be closed. And with Teuvo, that avenue should be closed for a long time.
So if you move Shaw to a wing, he’s not going in your top six. He’s a bottom six forward on this team, and really could be a 4th line winger if the lineup shakes out a certain way. On top of that, Shaw has two years left on his deal, and even though he’ll be RFA when it’s over if he continues to put around 20 goals he’s going to get a serious raise. Do you really want to be paying Andrew Shaw $3-4 million?
The Hawks love Shaw’s versatility, in that he can play center and wing. But they already have two players on the roster who do that who aren’t going to be regularly asked to play center in Ben Smith and Peter Regin. And both Smith and Regin have been trusted to kill penalties, which Shaw never really has. Smith could certainly take Shaw’s role on a power play, and in my mind he’d probably do it better. Bryan Bickell is another who can be Mr. Burns’s sun-blotter in front on the power play. Is Shaw really so valuable there that you couldn’t replace him?
Moreover, Shaw is the type of player you’re supposed to be able to replace from in the system. If Danault and McNeill are ready at the start of next season (and don’t be shocked if both get glimpses this season if injuries strike), you really should be able to absorb the blow of losing Chicken Hawk.
Best yet, this would be selling high on Shaw. You can convince teams he’s a 20-goal center and was good enough to skate with Patrick Kane. Package him with Versteeg and you could net at least two high draft picks if not a decent prospect. You already have Regin ready to slot in as a center if Teuvo’s not ready.
I’m a Shaw fan, but his skillset is far more easily found than say Leddy’s or Oduya’s. There would certainly be a market for him. As we know the Hawks still love this unquantifiable “grit” they are probably loathe to discuss Shaw. And Chicken Hawk does come with a fair amount of asshoolery on the ice, though as we saw against St. Louis that can transfer into a whole lot of dumb as well.
But considering the market that could be generated, isn’t this something that should be discussed?