SYDNEY, N.S. —
Nobody said the journey to professional hockey would be an easy one, which is something Logan Shaw knows all too well.
The Glace Bay native has had many ups and downs through the first seven seasons of his professional career.
From starting seasons in the American Hockey League, to playing in the ECHL and NHL, along with being traded, placed on waivers and having a professional tryout, Shaw has seen it all.
Despite the whirlwind journey for the 27-year-old forward, Shaw has never let team decisions affect his confidence and mindset, but rather has used those decisions to motivate him to become a better player.
“It’s been a hell of a ride,” said Shaw in a phone interview with the Cape Breton Post last week from Winnipeg, Man. “Every team I’ve had the chance to play with, it was a new experience and I’ve been all over the map a bit, but that’s hockey.”
Shaw began his hockey career with the Glace Bay Minor Hockey Association, before joining the Cape Breton Tradesmen of the Nova Scotia Major Midget Hockey League for the 2007-08 season. In 34 games with the local midget team, Shaw recorded 17 goals and 22 assists for 39 points.
He would spend one season in major midget, before being drafted by the then Cape Breton Screaming Eagles with the No. 12 overall pick at the 2008 Quebec Major Junior Hockey League Entry Draft, an event held in Sydney. Shaw went on to play three-and-a-half seasons with the Eagles, posting 54 goals and 50 assists for 104 points in 221 games.
During the 2010-11 season in Cape Breton, Shaw recorded 26 goals and 20 assists for 46 points, catching the eye of the Florida Panthers who drafted him in the third-round, No. 76 overall, at the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. After starting the 2011-12 season with the rebuilding Screaming Eagles, Shaw was traded to the Quebec Remparts and would finish his major junior career under the coaching guidance of hockey hall of famer Patrick Roy.
Shaw began his professional career during the 2013-14 season at 21 years old. He was assigned to the San Antonio Rampage, who at the time were the American league affiliate team for the Panthers. He played 46 games with the Rampage that season, while spending 20 games with the Cincinnati Cyclones of the ECHL, the low-point of his pro career.
“It’s tough when you’re 21 years old and you get sent down to the coast, you think your career is not going anywhere because you’re at the bottom,” said Shaw.
“I took it with a grain of salt and I knew I was there for a reason and I think it was a matter of knowing that reason and getting better … so I went down there and worked hard and it paid off.”
Shaw never did go back to the ECHL. In fact, he played his first full season in the AHL in 2014-15, suiting up for the Rampage in 69 games, notching 13 goals and 25 points.
In 2015-16, Shaw once again started the season in the AHL, this time with the Portland Pirates, but he wouldn’t spend much time with the Maine-based franchise. He played 19 games with the team, before receiving his first NHL call up by the Panthers, a moment he’ll never forget.
“It was just before Halloween and I had just left the rink and was driving home and our coach, Tom Rose, called and told me to come pick up my gear that I was going to the NHL,” said Shaw, who immediately called his parents Gerard and Sandra Shaw to tell them the news.
“I had my first game against Boston and I had a couple of my friends and family who came down, so it was nice and an unreal experience.”
Shaw scored his first career NHL goal in his seventh game with the Panthers on Dec. 8, 2015 against the Ottawa Senators at BB&T Center in Florida. With that goal, he became the first player from Glace Bay to score an NHL goal in a quarter-century, the previous goal having been scored by Doug Sulliman during the 1989-90 season with the Philadelphia Flyers.
On Nov. 16, 2016, Shaw was traded to the Anaheim Ducks by the Panthers in exchange for Michael Sgarbossa. Following the trade, he would join the San Diego Gulls of the AHL for the first weekend but was quickly called up by the Ducks and would spend the rest of the year with the southern California team.
“We went on a good playoff run and we lost out in the Western Conference final to the Nashville Predators,” said Shaw, who had three goals and seven assists in 55 games with the Ducks in the regular season.
“I found my role there, I was playing on the penalty kill, playing on the fourth line and just trying to do whatever I could to stay in the lineup and play simple hockey.”
During Shaw’s time with the Ducks, fellow Nova Scotian Paul MacLean was an assistant coach. Shaw credits MacLean for helping him improve as a player.
“I wasn’t taking pucks to the net and I wasn’t driving the net and I was playing soft and I think Paul was the one who pointed that out to me in the first place,” said Shaw.
In 2017-18, Shaw started the season with the Ducks and played 42 games before being placed on waivers and later claimed by the Montreal Canadiens, suiting up for the historic franchise for 30 games.
After the season, Shaw found himself without a contract, but was given a professional tryout by the Calgary Flames. He didn’t make the Flames but later signed a one-year deal with San Diego of the AHL. He played seven games with the Gulls before being given a one-year, two-way contract by the Winnipeg Jets, who sent the then 26-year-old to the club’s farm system with the Manitoba Moose. With the Moose, Shaw posted professional career highs in goals (27), assists (19) and points (46), while providing leadership in the Manitoba dressing room.
Moose head coach Pascal Vincent — despite once coaching in Cape Breton with the Eagles — didn’t know much about Shaw when he reported to the team.
“We knew him as a player, but we didn’t know him as a person,” said Vincent. “The things people were saying about him were outstanding and that he was a great teammate and easy to coach and they were all correct.
“I was really impressed with him — he could play centre, he could kill penalties and be on the power play, he had multiple rolls and his leadership skills were great.”
Unlike summer 2018, Shaw was able to enjoy this past summer training and preparing for the season after the Jets signed him to a one-year, two-way contract on May 31. He wrapped up a busy summer by marrying his longtime girlfriend, Kelsey MacDonald of Dominion. The couple spent 11 years together before tying the knot on Aug. 22 with a small wedding ceremony for immediate family at The Lakes Resort in Ben Eoin.
Shaw attended the Jets main training camp last month but didn’t make the NHL team. He was placed on waivers by the Jets, before clearing and being sent to the Moose, where he’s currently playing.
“I didn’t have my best training camp, but that’s part of it,” said Shaw, noting he plans to continue to bring leadership to the Moose dressing room. “I got sent down for a reason and I’m here to get better and make sure I find the little details in my game.”
The Moose began the 2019-20 season last weekend. In two games, Shaw has a goal and two assists along with a plus-4 rating. For now, he plans to embrace his time in the AHL with the goal of one day returning to the NHL.
“I’m going to play as hard as I can and hopefully make it hard for them not to call me up, but if it doesn’t come, it doesn’t come,” said Shaw. “Whether it’s November or if it’s May in the playoffs, I’m here to make sure I’m ready if the call ever does come.”