Chicago Blackhawks forward Andrew Shaw knows he won't be in the running for the Calder Trophy as the League's top rookie at the end of the season.
And he's fine with that. But to teammates, his coach and general manager, the 20-year-old Shaw has provided the type of energy and enthusiasm required of any player.
"If you look at him right now, there's not much to him, but when he steps on the ice, he's always noticeable," Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp told NHL.com. "The other team knows he's there and he goes in the tough areas, takes hits and is smart and confident. His enthusiasm has really helped our locker room."
Teammate Patrick Kane agrees.
"He just brings a lot of enthusiasm, excitement and energy," Kane told NHL.com. "He's fun to have around the locker room … he's a young kid, and I think when you watch him on the ice, he may be the smallest player out there but he plays like he's one of the biggest.
"He's in front on the power play, scores a lot of goals from in front of the net by tipping pucks and using his body. He's a huge part of the team right now."
Shaw was passed over in the 2009 and 2010 NHL drafts before the Blackhawks finally selected him in the fifth round (No. 139) last June. He enters Tuesday's game on a five-game point-scoring streak, during which he's totaled 4 goals, 8 points and a plus-5 rating.
"It was a little disappointing not being drafted those first two years, but I had no pressure on me after that and went out there and had fun and stuck with my game," Shaw told NHL.com. "Chicago liked what they saw and decided to draft me. At prospect camp I had everything to prove so I just went out there and gave it my all and they came back with an AHL contract. I didn't want to play in the Ontario Hockey League anymore and knew if I did my best, there may be a shot."
The Blackhawks signed Shaw to a three-year contract Jan. 3. At the time, his 12 goals and 21 points ranked third for the team's American Hockey League affiliate, the Rockford IceHogs. His 80 penalty minutes ranked second.
"It's amazing," Chicago Vice President/GM Stan Bowman told the team's website. "He wasn't even on an NHL contract until around Christmastime. He was in the American Hockey League on an AHL deal, and we decided to switch him over. He played really well in Rockford the first few months and we thought we might want to utilize him in the second half of the year.
"In order to do that, you have to be on an NHL contract. So we converted his deal to an NHL deal, and here we are. He's got 11 goals in around 30 games and he's been a real difference-maker."
Shaw has 11 goals, including two game-winners, 19 points, 31 penalty minutes and 67 hits in 31 games. The loss of forward Daniel Carcillo, who had surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left knee Jan. 17, has made Shaw a valuable asset for coach Joel Quenneville.
"He's been good for us in a lot of ways; we appreciate the way he competes," Quenneville said. "Offensively, he's got a nice set of hands and he gets rewarded for going into the high-traffic areas. He finds ways to get around the puck through positioning or with his hands. He's getting some assignments against top lines and his line (with center Dave Bolland and left wing Bryan Bickell) has been effective."
Shaw posted a career-high 54 points, including 22 goals, in 66 games last season for the eventual Ontario Hockey League champion Owen Sound Attack. He ranked 11th in the league with 135 penalty minutes and was honored at the end of the season as the OHL's Hardest Working Player.
Shaw led all players at the 2011 Memorial Cup with 7 points (2 goals, 5 assists) in four games.