Unsung Hero: Andrew Shaw

He was a victim of the anti-Bergevin crew, those who will never forgive and forget that the Canadiens’ General Manager dared trading their Golden Boy P.K. Subban. Everything Bergevin did since is bad, according to them, and they would jump on every opportunity to try to prove their point. Some still do, even in the media. But Andrew Shaw is doing what Jonathan Drouin is doing. He’s following the trend set by Max Domi and Tomas Tatar in taking every ammunition out of their hands, deflating their bubble of criticism one by one.

The proof is in the pudding. Instead of recognizing that Shea Weber has had an immense impact on the Canadiens since returning to the line-up after almost a full year absence, something that everyone around the NHL acknowledges, one of Bergevin’s biggest detractors, Arpon Basu, typed this garbage after Weber was caught flat-footed against Andrei Svechnikov, last summer’s second overall pick: 

Basu was so excited and in such a hurry to write that tweet that he misspelled Weber’s name! But guess what? While it may please the Brendan Kelly’s and company of this world, most Habs’ fans are knowledgeable enough to read right through the blind hater. Perhaps is it the fact that even Canadiens’ second best defenseman Jeff Petry is schooling their Golden Boy, the need to try to get back to Bergevin is just too strong… like a kitten unable to resit a laser-pointer!  

Shaw on a roll

As pointed out, one of the victims of this blind hater has been Andrew Shaw. How many times have we seen local “reporters” throwing former Canadiens’ Lars Eller and his stats down our throats? Funny we’re not seeing that trend anymore. Funny how we don’t hear about Alex Galchenyuk and Mikhail Sergachev either. Why? Because it so happens that Domi, Drouin, Shaw and even Weber are outplaying those who were traded away. But don’t you worry… vulchers like Basu and company, while ignoring the current trend, will be waiting in the weeds as soon as the roles are reversed, as they’ve done in the past.  

Shaw is a great contributor to the Canadiens’ success

With a goal last night against Carolina on a beautiful feed by Weber, Shaw has extended his points streak to six games (2G-4A). As a matter of fact, the 27 year-old gritty forward has racked up no less than 17 points (8G-9A) in his last 17 games for the Canadiens since November 8th. 

Since joining the Canadiens, Shaw has played 147 games and has put up 68 points on the board (0.46 Pts/GP). So far this season, he has 9 goals, 19 points in 28 games (0.68 Pts/GP) while being the same polivalent and gritty player that he is, providing sandpaper, creating havoc in front of the opposing net, and taking faceoffs when needed. 

Some people wrongfully felt like Shaw wasn’t worth the $3,9 million cap hit the Canadiens are giving him, but few around the NHL share that feeling. Blackhawks’ captain Jonathan Toews was quoted back then saying that he was disappointed to see Shaw leave the Hawks’ organisation who traded him for no other reasons than the fact that they were tight against the salary cap and couldn’t afford to re-sign him. They wanted to keep him.

For inquiring minds, here are a few comparative contracts to Shaw around the NHL:

  • Craig Smith (NSH) $4.25M
  • Casey Cizikas (NYI) $3.35M
  • Carl Hagelin (ANA) $4M
  • Cody Eakin (DAL) $3.85M

* Source: capfriendly.com

Marc Bergevin has many reasons to smile. Andrew Shaw’s play is one of them.

Another comparative often used in the past by those with an axe to grind against Bergevin is Lars Eller, whom the Canadiens traded to Washington for two second round picks. Ironically, that’s the price that Bergevin paid Chicago to get Shaw. I say ironically because they complained about overpaying for Shaw but conveniently “forgot” that Bergevin received the same return for Eller. But what exactly has Eller done to be placed on a pedestal by those people, other than in an attempt to put Shaw down?

With the Canadiens, Eller, who carries a $3.5 million cap hit, played a total of 435 games in which he accumulated a grand total of 154 points (0.35 Pts/GP). With the Capitals, he has 73 points in 192 games (0.38 Pts/GP) and this season, he has 14 points in 30 games (0.47 Pts/GP). That’s a far cry from Shaw’s numbers, isn’t it? Now consider that Shaw is one of the leaders on the Canadiens… 

So before you read – and mostly start believing – the junk thrown out there by certain “reporters” and/or “fans”, please ensure to consider the source as too many of them simply cannot make an unbiased assessment if their lives depended on it. Because you know… 76 now belongs to prospect Josh Brooks. Now here’s hoping that Shaw’s concussion issues are behind him, as they seem to be for the likes of Patrice Bergeron and Sidney Crosby amongst others. Go Habs Go! 

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Shea Weber: A Mountain Of An Impact

Toronto Maple Leafs’ head coach Mike Babcock nicknamed him Man Mountain. He was voted by his peers the most difficult defenseman to play against. He is one of the best leaders in the entire NHL. He has the most feared shot in the league. His teammates call him “Dad”. David Schlemko was recently quoted saying that he’s “stupidly strong”. Young Jesperi Kotkaniemi said that he almost peed himself seeing his shot come at him on the powerplay. He is the team captain and, in spite of missing an entire year, he’s playing like an All-Star. 

Shea Weber is… well, Shea Weber. With him back, the smallish Canadiens have all grown a couple of inches. Everyone is benefiting from his return and yes, even Jeff Petry who did extremely well in Weber’s absence, but whose ice time was ridiculously high. But what is the impact of Weber on the Habs exactly? 

Weber returned to action on November 27th and prior to the game in Minnesota, he had played six (6) games. His personal results? Three (3) goals, two (2) assists, five (5) points. A differential of plus -5 with 24 shots on goal and 20 hits (3.3 hits per game, tops on the Habs). He has solidified the penalty kill units and has provided another weapon to an otherwise pretty anemic powerplay. 

Beyond Weber’s stats

When you talk about Weber, players think leadership and while (some) fans may see that as overrated, people around hockey know the importance of having quality leadership. Habs’ players are no different. While this was a pretty solid and tight group to start with, Dad is back and it shows. 

Since Weber’s return, the Canadiens have a 4-2-0 record. They have tightened their defensive play, allowing only 13 goals (2.17/GP) on 163 shots (27.1/GP). They have also scored 20 (3.33/GP) and fired 243 shots on goal (40.5/GP). Better defense, more offense, which usually means more wins than losses. 

Carey Price has benefited from Weber’s return.

But none has benefited more of Weber’s return than goaltender Carey Price. Struggling with consistency since Man Mountain was shelved last season, we are starting to see the confident and dominant Price that we love in Montreal. In the last six games, Price has stopped 150 of the 163 shots in his direction for a respectable .920 Sv%. His goals’ against average during that time is 2.19. 

Before the season started, I had predicted that if the Canadiens were in a playoffs’ race by the time Weber came back, they would be in the playoffs in the Spring. While this is still a young team with ups and downs, I still believe that unless catastrophe hits again, they will play hockey well into April. Go Habs Go!