(CBS) With his restricted free agency looming this summer, Blackhawks forward Andrew Shaw has made it clear he wants to return to Chicago.
Whether the constraints general manager Stan Bowman and the Blackhawks face in the salary cap dance will allow him to do that remains to be seen.READ MORE: 1 Killed, 4 Injured In Evanston Shooting
“I trust my agent and Stan to do what they can,” Shaw said. “I want to be back here, and I think they want me back … A lot of cap issues, obviously. Just got to be patient and wait for it.
“I’ve been in Chicago for five years now. I’ve made this place my home, made a lot of friends, and I love this city. I love the fan support here.”
The 24-year-old Shaw’s renowned for his intense play and willingness to battle in front of the net, often taking a beating while doing so. He had 34 points (14 goals, 20 assists) in 2015-’16, when he played on a variety of different lines. Shaw added two goals and four assists in six postseason games as the Blackhawks lost a seven-game series to the Blues in the first round. He also served a one-game suspension for directing a homophobic slur toward an official near the end of a Game 4 loss.
The most recent 2016-’17 salary cap has been estimated at $74 million. The Blackhawks already have nearly $69 million in salary committed for next season when factoring in the performance bonuses that winger Artemi Panarin has earned. That $74 million cap figure isn’t set in stone either; if the players’ union opts against exercising an escalator clause, the cap could stay around the $71.4 million that it was in 2015-’16.
That would make it much tougher to bring Shaw back.READ MORE: At Least 40 People Wounded, 3 Killed In Thanksgiving Weekend Shootings In Chicago
“Andrew’s at his best in the big games,” Bowman said. “He’s a heart and soul play, really competitive. He lays it on the line every night. The cap situation — we’ve been asked that question quite a bit whenever we get together and talk — I don’t have an answer for you right now. We certainly like what Andrew brings to the table. There’s just some things that have yet to be determined in terms of what the salary cap is going to be. We’ll get that number over the next two months … We’d certainly like to do what we can to bring him (back) here.”
Added Shaw: “It’s the business of hockey. It sucks, but like I said, I want to be back here, and I have the feeling they want me to be back. So hopefully both parties can make it work.”
Forward Andrew Ladd, forward Dale Weise, forward Tomas Fleischmann, forward Brandon Mashinter, defenseman Christian Ehrhoff, defenseman Michal Rozsival and goalie Michael Leighton are the Blackhawks’ impending unrestricted free agents. The most high-profile of those players, Ladd seems to be a near certainty to leave, as his strong play will command big money on the open market.
However, Ladd also explained he’s at a point in his career when he can choose situation over top money, leaving the door cracked ever so slightly to taking a discount to return to the Blackhawks.
“You try to make the best decision possible for yourself and for your family,” Ladd said. “At the end of the day, I think you try to do whatever’s possible to try to be a part of a group and organization like this.”MORE NEWS: Wolfpack Junior Football Team Needs Funds To Compete For National Championship In Florida
Forward Richard Panik and forward Dennis Rasmussen are also restricted free agents.