‘One of the great guys in the game': Andrew Shaw fills void Blackhawks have been lacking on and off the ice

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The Blackhawks didn't want to trade Andrew Shaw in the summer of 2016 but were forced to due to salary cap implications and the fact he was due a large raise. That's usually what happens when you win multiple Stanley Cups before the age of 23.

After he was dealt, Shaw's presence both on and off the ice was sorely missed. The package he brings to the table is an ingredient that has been lacking on the Blackhawks for a few seasons now.

Three years later and "The Mutt" finds himself back in Chicago, where he put on the Blackhawks sweater for the first time since the reacquisition and was welcomed back by fans with a roaring ovation at Friday's Opening Ceremonies at the 12th annual convention.

And Shaw's former — and now current — teammates are thrilled to have him in their dressing room again.

“It kills me to throw out compliments to Shawzy right away, but you have to,” captain Jonathan Toews said. “We all know what he meant to our team. When we knew he was not coming back to our team a few years ago, there was a void and a feeling we were going to have without him in the locker room.

"He’s just such a competitor and the way he plays is a huge part to his personality. He’s a high-energy guy who the fans love for good reason. He’ll run through a brick wall for his teammates and he brings so much in the locker room.”

The part of Shaw's on-ice ability that the Blackhawks really admire is that he can play any style and anywhere in your lineup. Need him to deliver a big hit? He'll do it. Need him to block a shot? He'll do that, too. Need him to play wing or center? He can do both. And he can do it on any of the four lines.

"It's exciting," Patrick Kane said. "He's a really fun kid to be around, great for the locker room. We were actually having dinner in Chicago a couple days before [the trade] just kind of talking about certain things. I remember him saying to me if he got traded the one place he'd want to come back to is Chicago, so fortunate it worked out and happy to have him back because he is such a great kid and brings a lot on the ice as well.

"He's a guy, you look at his year last year, he scored [47] points, almost 20 goals, so his game's getting better and better too and probably better than when we last saw him here in Chicago. I'm sure he's looking for a bigger role, he'll definitely be able to help us out and happy to have him on our side again."

Perhaps more importantly is that Shaw's personality is perfect for the camaraderie of the group. The most common trait among championship teams, in any sport, is the bond between the players. Every successful team needs guys like Shaw to keep things loose at the rink and also away from it.

“He’s one of the great guys in the game,” Brent Seabrook said. “He’s one of those guys that always brings energy, whether it’s on the ice or off the ice. You need those guys around to spark things. The season gets long. The season gets dragged out. You’re in some dark cities, some snow and weather and all that kind of stuff. A guy like Shawzie really brings that energy, that fire.”

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