Chicago Blackhawks complete trade to bring Shaw back to Chicago

Knowing his team needed to be more of a pain in the rump to play against, general manager Stan Bowman pulled off a trade Sunday that guarantees the Chicago Blackhawks will be exactly that next season.

Yes, Andrew Shaw is returning to Chicago.

Affectionately known as The Mutt for his aggressive style, Shaw was re-aquired from Montreal in exchange for second- and seventh-round picks in the 2020 draft and a third-round pick in the 2021 draft. The Hawks also receive the Canadiens' seventh-round pick in 2021.

As long has he stays healthy and doesn't commit too many careless penalties, Shaw's return should thrill Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook and Corey Crawford.

Not to mention coach Jeremy Colliton, who can deploy Shaw in myriad ways. The soon-to-be 28-year-old can play on any line, chip in on the power play and isn't afraid to go to the corners or step up for his teammates when they've been wronged.

Asked why he wanted the 5-foot-11, 182-pound Shaw back, Bowman said: "It's a lot of things. Mostly it's his competitiveness. He won't be denied. He's a fearless player (and) someone who plays much bigger than his actual size."

And, of course, he still has a knack for scoring those ugly goals.

"That's something we probably weren't as strong at last year as we had hoped," Bowman said. "We did score a lot of highlight-type goals and a lot of transition goals. Andrew can help us score some of the other goals that you need to if you're going to be competitive come playoff time."

Shaw was in Chicago this past weekend visiting his brother and found out about the trade while on an airplane that was set to take off for Toronto.

"I got a call from (Montreal GM Marc) Bergevin and he gave me the news," Shaw said. "Then I got up in the air, phone was off, and landed, and I had emails, messages, everything. The phone blew up."

Shaw said he's already heard from several former teammates and can't wait to return to the United Center wearing the red and black.

"I've always thought of coming back," said Shaw, who was drafted by the Hawks in the fifth round in 2011 and made his NHL debut that season in Philadelphia. "It was a home to me. I lived there for five amazing years. Fell in love with my wife there, I fell in love with the city, fell in love with hockey even more."

Shaw's win-at-all-costs mentality made him a huge favorite of then-coach Joel Quenneville, and he played a vital role in the Hawks' titles in 2013 and '15.

The last three years have been a roller coaster, though, as Shaw battled concussions and underwent knee surgery. After two rough seasons, he bounced back in a big way in 2018-19 by scoring 19 goals and dishing out a career-high 28 assists in 63 games.

"I obviously had a lot of bumps and bruises along the way," he said, "but the past year and a bit I've focused on making sure I'm taking care of myself a little bit better. Eating better and in the gym every day. I feel good. I feel great."

Shaw was traded to Montreal in 2016 because the Hawks couldn't afford to give him the six-year, $23.4 million deal he received from the Canadiens. So Bowman dealt his pain-in-the-butt forward for two second-round draft picks, one of which the Hawks used to take Alex DeBrincat.

Now, Shaw - and what is suddenly a reasonable $3.9 million cap hit - is back.

"You guys will see what happens tomorrow," Bowman said of the opening of free agency. "It's going to be tough to get free agents to sign three-year deals at $3.9 (million).

"And he's 27 years old. His contract, which was a challenge for us years ago, is actually quite attractive now."

Said Shaw: "(Chicago is) a blue-collar type of town and they've loved me since the day I started there. So I'm excited to get back and play in front of them and give them everything I have."

What now?

With the additions of Andrew Shaw ($3.9 million) and defensemen Calvin de Haan ($4.55M) and Olli Maata ($4.083M), the Blackhawks have added about $12.5 million worth of cap hits to their roster.

With restricted free agents David Kampf and Brendan Perlini still unsigned, and big extensions due for Alex DeBrincat and Dylan Strome after next season, it seems the Hawks might be awfully quiet when free agency opens Monday.

"One-year (deals) would be preferred, (but it) doesn't have to be one year," Bowman said. "When you're looking at these six-, seven-year deals, which I'm sure some guys are going to get, that's a little bit more challenging for us going forward.

"We're trying to improve our team in the short term, which I'm confident we've done. But we're also trying to be aware of where things are going over the coming years so that we put ourselves in a good position."

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