The 29-year-old was placed on long-term injured reserve March 5. He last played Feb. 9, when he sustained a concussion in a 2-1 overtime win against the Dallas Stars, and was advised by the Blackhawks medical staff to discontinue his career in hockey because of the potential long-term consequences.
"[Leaving hockey] has been in the back of my head for a few years now," he said. "My love for the game obviously pushed it away and [I'm] listening to doctors for once in my life, I finally made a decision that it would be best for me to step away from the game. Because there's no way I can change the way I play. I'm going to keep putting myself in vulnerable situations, so for my long-term health, I think it's best that I [stop playing]."
Shaw scored four points (two goals, two assists) in 14 games this season.
"I'm in a good place," Shaw said. "Right now, with the announcement, emotions are all over the place. But I feel good, I look good, I'm staying strong, staying healthy, doing everything I can do to feel good. Time heals everything, and I felt great coming out after every concussion, made sure I was feeling good. So I'm going to do the same with this one, as well."
Shaw won the Stanley Cup twice with the Blackhawks, in 2013 and 2015. He scored the game-winning goal at 12:08 of the third overtime to give Chicago a victory against the Boston Bruins in Game 1 of the 2013 Stanley Cup Final. The Blackhawks won the series in six games for their second Cup championship during a run of of three titles in six seasons (2010, 2013, 2015).
Joel Quenneville, the coach of the Florida Panthers, coached the Blackhawks from 2008-19, and the two had a special bound, Quennevile said Monday.
"He's a special guy, a very unique player," Quenneville said. "When we were there last time, I had a talk with him. It was about how he was feeling and where he was at. You have to respect his decision on where he is with his life and what he's been dealing with over the last few years as far as the quality of his life. He's one of those guys that played relentless.
"He took a lot of tough hits, but that unpredictability that he created for opponents put us in a good spot in a lot of situations. Having that element where he could change the complexion of the game, whether it was a big hit, whether it be a fight, whether he'd be in the crease battling for loose pucks. Saying all that stuff, as far as what he brought physically and that type of tenacity, he had an underappreciated skill level. He had great hands, could score goals and make big plays and the timing of it was a great asset for the team. I wish him nothing but the best. I got a kick out of 'Shawzy.'"
Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman echoed that Shaw's impact on the organization has been immense.
"I'm trying to look on the bright side of all the great moments that Andrew brought to the group," Bowman said. "Just his presence, being around. Such a fun person to be around. He's got so much energy and he really lifted the group up. I'm looking at it more with fond memories of his experience with our team, coming in as this young kid and really an underdog story if you look back at it, when he first came here, just a great story.
"He was passed over in a couple drafts, and comes in and didn't even start with an NHL contract. He was just on an American League contract his first year and he was playing so well that we signed him in the middle of the year, brought him up. We saw his impact that first game. It was the start of a great connection between Andrew and our team and our city. A lot of great memories, for sure."
In addition to being part of two Stanley Cup championship teams, Shaw also is remembered for when he headed the puck into the net in the second overtime against the Anaheim Ducks in Game 2 of the 2015 Western Conference Final, a goal overturned by video review. The Blackhawks won the game 3-2 in three overtimes.
A fifth-round pick (No. 139) in the 2011 NHL Draft, Shaw scored 247 points (116 goals, 131 assists) in 544 regular-season games and 35 points (16 goals, 19 assists) in 72 playoff games for the Blackhawks and Canadiens. He was traded to Montreal on June 24, 2016 and back to Chicago on June 30, 2019. He was placed on injured reserve with a concussion sustained against the Colorado Avalanche on Nov. 30, 2019, did not play the rest of the season and opted out of the Stanley Cup Qualifiers on July 14, 2020.
The journey Shaw underwent during his two stops in Chicago was incredible, according to Bowman.
"The first time I saw him play before we drafted him I went up to watch the Memorial Cup and he was this guy who just everywhere," Bowman said. "He was so active, he was in the face of the other team. We draft him, we bring him in and his first camp here, every shift in a summer camp, he was playing like it was the Stanley Cup Final. He was very intense. That's just the only way he knew how to play. That's what made him so successful."
Shaw said he was unsure what his future holds, but he plans to return to hockey in some capacity at a later date. First, he said, he wants to spend some time with his family and away from the game.
"I do know I love this city, my family loves this city and we'll be in and out of the city for years to come," he said. "So I look forward to that. It's not a goodbye. I'll be around, you'll see this awesome face, you'll hear this awesome voice a lot more."
NHL.com staff writer Tracey Myers contributed to this report