Old fan-favorite Andrew Shaw is coming back to Chicago.
And he’s coming back a wiser, more experienced version of the fearless pest that gained him that status.
“I’ve changed as a player,” Shaw said Sunday. “I think I’ve matured, gotten stronger, bigger, faster. But I’m still the type of player that’s going to go to the dirty areas.”
The Blackhawks acquired Shaw, who turns 28 on July 20, from the Canadiens for a package of draft picks. The Hawks sent a 2020 second-round pick and a 2021 third-round pick to the Canadiens and swapped a 2020 seventh-rounder for a 2021 seventh-rounder.
Shaw requires no introduction to most Hawks fans, but he’s worth rehashing nonetheless. The 5-11 grinder spent the first five seasons of his NHL career with the Hawks, winning the 2013 and 2015 Stanley Cups and earning fame for his work ethic in spite of middling production.
The Hawks traded him to the Canadiens before the 2016-17 season for two second-round picks. Despite dealing with frequent injuries — including multiple concussions — during his time in Montreal, he totaled a career-high 47 points in 63 games last season.
Shaw has three years left on a contract that has an annual $3.9 million salary-cap hit. That price was once seen as exorbitant, but not anymore.
“When we moved him three years ago, it was simply due to the salary cap,” general manager Stan Bowman said. “Our team was in a different state financially at that time, and the cap was about $9 or $10 million lower, as well. So now, the fact that he’s signed at that number is actually pretty attractive.”
That’s in line with Bowman’s rhetoric all offseason. He has noted his preference for trades over free agents this year given the inflationary tendencies of the market, which officially opens at 11 a.m. Monday. The Shaw deal marked the Hawks’ fourth trade in June.
Bowman also downplayed worries about the draft picks the Hawks conceded.
“People give first- and second-round picks without hesitation at the trade deadline for a guy that they might have for eight weeks,” he said. “We’re giving a second- and third-round pick for a player we’re going to have for three seasons.”
The shrewdness of the Shaw trade might be measured Monday, when the market value for a checking-line winger is determined. Keep an eye on Brett Connolly, a close comparable.
But on the ice, adding Shaw can only be a good thing. In addition to his well-known physicality, Shaw creates offense around the net and is a decent faceoff option.
Bowman said he’s hoping to have six to eight forwards on the roster who can play center when needed. An unrestricted free agent or two will be signed Monday to help with that. Shaw, who’s technically a winger, can, too.
“The opportunity is there for everyone to take it. You gotta go out there and seize it,” Shaw said. “I’m the type of guy who’s always worked for what I’ve gotten, and I’m not going to change today.”