The Montreal Canadiens have signed recently-acquired forward Andrew Shaw to a six-year, $23.4 million contract with an average annual value of $3.9 million.
Shaw was involved in a trade last Friday night in the first round of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft that saw two second-round picks headed back to Chicago in exchange for the soon-to-be restricted free agent. Montreal made another trade Friday night, shipping center Lars Eller to Washington in exchange for two second-round picks, thus making room for Shaw to lock up the third-line center position.
Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin made sure to take care of the contract well before the July 1 free agency deadline.
“As I mentioned last Friday following his acquisition, we are adding a solid character player to our team, a reliable player who plays with grit and a two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Chicago Blackhawks over the past five seasons,” Bergevin said. “Andrew will add more leadership to our team. I had the opportunity to discuss with him over the past few days, and I sense his determination and excitement in joining the Canadiens’ organization for many years to come.”
The six-year, $23.4 million deal is front-loaded but does not include a no-trade or no-movement clause. Shaw is coming off a two-year, $4 million contract he signed with Chicago prior to the 2014-2015 season.
Shaw, taken in the fifth round (139) by Chicago in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, is a two-time Stanley Cup champion and brings a lot of veteran experience despite being only 24 years old. He is coming off a 14-goal, 34-point campaign in 78 regular-season games. He tallied a team-leading four goals and finished with six points in six playoff games this postseason before Chicago was eliminated in the first round by the St. Louis Blues. Shaw has 70 goals and 137 points in 322 career regular-season games, all with the Blackhawks. He has 16 goals and 35 points in 67 career playoff games with Chicago.
If not for cap restraints, there’s no question Chicago would have extended Shaw.
Shaw is the type of player who plays with an edge and with grit and energy, and he has scored some clutch goals in his five-year career. He also brings a lot of intangibles to the game that can go a long way in an extended playoff run. These are a few of the things that made Bergevin so interested in acquiring him.
Perhaps Shaw himself put it best.
“[Bergevin] likes the rat in me, the work ethic,” he said Saturday on a media conference call. “He enjoys watching me play, and dealing with him on my first contract was exciting for me as well. I owe him a lot.”
Montreal will welcome Shaw with open arms, especially after a disappointing season that saw the team jump out to a 9-0 start but miss the playoffs by more than ten points. There are more moves to come for Montreal this offseason, but Shaw will be an important piece of the puzzle for the team moving forward.
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