With the 139th overall selection in the fifth round of the 2011 NHL Draft, the Blackhawks picked an undersized forward who was roughly three weeks away from his 20th birthday.
Nobody really got excited about the pick. The kid had been passed on before and late round picks rarely turn into much. If he never saw the NHL, nobody would notice.
The kid came to the Hawks’ prospect camp that summer and immediately tried to make a name for himself. In spite of his 5-10 frame, he dropped the mitts with anyone who wanted to dance. But he also played the game hard in every scrimmage, and caught the eye of the Hawks’ front office.
On August 4 of that year, he got a contract with the Rockford IceHogs. In doing so, he became the first member of the Blackhawks’ 2011 draft class to join the AHL roster, even if it wasn’t on an NHL contract.
Fast forward a few months. Chicago needed some help at the NHL level, so on Jan. 3 they signed the kid to an entry-level NHL contract.
Two days later, he scored his first NHL goal.
Andrew Shaw, the undersized kid who had scored only 33 goals in 134 games over two seasons in the OHL before being drafted by the Hawks, was in the NHL. And he didn’t go away.
He split the 2011-12 season between Chicago and Rockford, but managed to put up 12 goals and 11 assists in only 37 games in the NHL.
In the playoffs after his rookie season, Shaw jumped into the league-wide conversation when he bumped into Coyotes goaltender Mike Smith and was subsequently suspended three games. The punishment was laughable, but the event made Shaw a name people across the league would remember.
One year later, Shaw came off the lockout-shortened regular season and had a nice postseason. In his first Stanley Cup Final game, Shaw scored the goal that mattered most.
When he got done loving his equipment and his teammates, Shaw and the Hawks went on to raise the Stanley Cup in 2013.
Barely a month into the following season, Chicago gave Shaw a two-year extension. He celebrated the deal by having the best season of his career, reaching 20 goals and playing in 80 games (both still career highs).
Over the two seasons after the 2013 Cup, not everything was perfect for Shaw’s Cinderella story. He missed a couple games during the 2014 postseason because of injury, there was an ejection for head-butting at the end of the 2014-15 regular season and later a fine for diving.
But once again in 2015, he was in the right spot at the right time when the money was on the table.
The header didn’t count, but it is a terrific microcosm of Shaw doing whatever it takes to help his team.
Throughout his 322 regular season games with the Blackhawks, Shaw played hard; nobody has ever been able to question his intensity. Indeed, at times his energy was a detriment to the team. But he always brought it.
Unfortunately, his intensity got him into trouble and his actions (more specifically, his words) will leave an unfortunate lasting impression on many fans. Shaw was suspended for Game 5 of this year’s playoff series, and his teammates needed him.
Shaw ranks 11th from the 2011 NHL Draft with 137 career points. His 70 career regular season goals rank fourth from that class, trailing only the top two picks (Gabriel Landeskog, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins) and former teammate Brandon Saad. And his 300 penalty minutes make him the current leader from that draft.
The kid the Hawks picked without much fan attention five years ago did well for his time in Chicago. He will be missed on the ice and was a fan favorite off the ice as well.