As the Blackhawks search for offense, most of the fingers have been pointed at new faces up front, Bryan Bickell and the evolving chemistry on the blue line in the wake of Duncan Keith’s injury. But one player who has been noticeably absent – from the box score and criticism – is Andrew Shaw.
Shaw scored 35 goals over the last two regular seasons in Chicago, but is off to an awful start. With only one point – and assist – through 11 games, he needs to pick up his pace to reach double digits in points after registering 39 and 26 in 2013-14 and 2014-15, respectively.
What’s more, digging into some enhanced stats paints an even more troubling picture.
According to NHL.com, Shaw has a -27 SAT entering Monday, which is the worst on the Blackhawks roster. Andrew Desjardins is the closest on the team, but his -15 SAT is well above Shaw’s given the sample size. The third member of their usual line, Marcus Kruger, has a -4 SAT thus far.
By comparison, last year Shaw finished the full regular season with a SAT of 134, which was better than Brent Seabrook, Patrick Kane and Johnny Oduya.
Shaw is second on the team with 30 hits, but his 10 penalty minutes are tied for second on the team as well. He is winning only 46 percent of his faceoffs, a role that has diminished with him playing primarily on the wing this season but he has still taken the fourth-most draws on the roster.
He has remained a primary component of the Hawks’ power play, averaging 2:20 per night on the ice with a man advantage, but there are other players who have shown the ability to play in front of the net. Artem Anisimov has done a good job with the second unit in a similar role.
Shaw isn’t expected to be a league leader by any means, but he is expected to make an impact with his energy. So far this season, that impact hasn’t happened and the Blackhawks need him to be a bigger part of their offense if the team is going to succeed.
Or… does the presence of some youngsters on the NHL roster give both Joel Quenneville and Stan Bowman options when considering the longer term roster dynamics in Chicago?