The Chicago Blackhawks have lost two more players. Andrew Shaw has entered concussion protocol and Connor Murphy is out with a hip injury. The team recently lost both Ryan Carpenter and Lucas Wallmark due to COVID, so these new ailments thin an already-depleted team. Chicago Sun beat reporter Ben Pope announced the newest developments early Thursday afternoon.
Connor Murphy out 10-14 days with a hip injury.
Shaw out tonight in concussion protocol.
Those are both very bad news.
— Ben Pope (@BenPopeCST) February 11, 2021
Blackhawks Lose Andrew Shaw & Connor Murphy
These newest ailments will cause two of Chicago’s top 10 scorers to miss time. Shaw currently has two goals and four points in 14 games, while Murphy has two goals and five points in 13 games. Shaw is fourth on the team in average power play time at 3:42 per game. Murphy helps anchor the penalty-killing unit at over four minutes per contest with a disadvantage. Both were seeing at least 40 more seconds of ice time compared to the 2019-20 season thanks to the Blackhawks’ numerous absences.
The Phoenix Coyotes originally selected the 6′-4″ Murphy in the first round of the 2011 Draft and deployed him until a 2017 trade sent him to Chicago in exchange for Niklas Hjalmarsson. He has been an effective player with 27 goals and 100 points in 457 NHL games. He has also contributed almost 1,000 hits and 800 blocks. Shaw began his career with Chicago as a fifth rounder of the same 2011 Draft. He was with the Montreal Canadiens for two seasons before returning to the Blackhawks in June of 2019. Shaw has battled injuries, but still has a respectable 116 goals and 247 points in 544 games on top of over 1,000 hits.
How Chicago Replaces Their Missing Pieces
Chicago is getting very thin, but still has players they can use if necessary. Recent addition Madison Bowey may see some time with the penalty-killers and the team recalled defender Wyatt Kalynuk to the taxi squad. Murphy’s loss is a big one, but defence is one place that is relatively stable at the moment.
It’s hard to know exactly how the team covers for Shaw’s absence. They could deploy just 11 forwards and seven defenders and not replace him directly. They might also call either Reese Johnson or Brandon Pirri from the taxi group. These injuries are certainly not good at a key point in the season. The group is a mild surprise as it battles for second place in the temporary Central Division.