Whenever the Blackhawks need to recall a player from Rockford, the usual names are tossed around: Ben Smith, Brandon Pirri, and Jeremy Morin. This time when the Hawks needed bodies, they passed up on those three and called on forward Andrew Shaw and defenseman Dylan Olsen.
With Marcus Kruger out and now on IR, Jimmy Hayes had already been recalled, but with the leg injury to Dan Carcillo, they needed someone else. Shaw, fresh off of signing a three-year entry level contract with the ‘Hawks yesterday, has been solid for Rockford all year. The 20-year-old has 21 points (12 G, 9 A) in 33 games and leads all rookies on the team in points. Overall, he’s third in scoring on the Hogs. The Blackhawks’ 5th round (139th overall) pick in the 2011 draft is even on the plus/minus side of things, but had been a plus player for most of the year. He’s accumulated 80 penalty minutes, and his last fighting major came in the Hogs’ last game on December 31st against Peoria where he took on Brennan Evans.
Shaw plays a fearless game. He’s not afraid to get his nose dirty, dig for pucks in the corner, and go to the front of the net. Most, if not all, of his goals have come from out front as he causes havoc in front of opposing goaltenders. He’s a good fit to replace a player like Carcillo, as their games are somewhat comparable in regards to agitating opponents, but Shaw definitely has more offensive flare. Look for him to be out in front Thursday night in Philadelphia as he makes his NHL debut. The only question mark with the Belleville, Ontario, native is his size; he’s 5-foot-11, 180 pounds. It will be a test for him to be able to stay out in front of the crease with NHL defensemen bearing down on him, but Shaw will definitely be up for the test.
Olsen was recalled due to Steve Montador being placed on IR. The Hawks’ first round (28th overall) draft choice in 2009 has had a steady season in Rockford. He’s not going to put up many points — he only had four assists in 2010-11 and has one goal and one assist this year — but he’ll provide a physical presence on the backend. The 6-foot-3, 210 pound Calgary native was compared by some to Brent Seabrook in his draft year, and the comparison still holds true now. He’s still developing and is focusing more on his defense, but he has a bomb of a shot from the point and can lead rushes into the offensive zone. He’s also getting smarter about when he pinches, allowing plays to be kept alive in the O-zone. Being paired up with a veteran d-man like Sean O’Donnell while he’s in Chicago will help him continue to develop, and he’ll learn a lot.
Olsen has played 30 games for the IceHogs this season, missing three games from October 25th to October 29th with an upper body injury, and is -4 with 38 penalty minutes. He’s fought twice this year and did very well in both; he took on Chicago’s Kevin Connauton in the first bout and Milwaukee’s Ryan Flynn in the second one. Olsen will also be making his NHL debut.