Former Blackhawk of the Week: Jeff Shantz

An end-to-end goal stands out in the brief career Shantz had in Chicago.

Spend enough time clicking through “top goals” or “best NHL goals” compilation videos on YouTube and there’s a good chance it came across your monitor.

During this game against the San Jose Sharks on February 13, 1997, Chicago Blackhawks forward Jeff Shantz picked up the puck near the left faceoff circle, along the boards, deep in his own end. Then he skated up the boards with the puck. Then he cut across two-thirds of the ice and into the San Jose zone. Then he dangled by a San Jose defenseman.

And then he scored.

Shantz skated the length of the ice with the puck and buried a shot under the bar past San Jose goalie Arturs Irbe.

An eight-second video on YouTube has the extent of the highlight:

How do I know for sure it was that game? Well, there were only two instances of Shantz scoring a goal at home against San Jose during his Blackhawks tenure, the other coming in the 1994-95 season. Just before Shantz scores, a teammate wearing No. 6 for Chicago skates into the picture, but his name isn’t legible (thanks, standard definition!). But the 1994-95 Blackhawks only had one player wearing No. 6: Gerald Diduck, who wasn’t in the lineup in the aforementioned game (he hadn’t been traded to Chicago by the Vancouver Canucks yet). But in that 1997 game when Shantz scored in San Jose, Michal Sykora is in the box score and wore No. 6 for the 1996-97 Blackhawks. Ergo, this goal happened in the 1996-97 season.

I know you were dying to know that.

Shantz enjoyed a solid NHL career. Drafted in the second round (36th overall) of the 1992 NHL Entry Draft, he debuted with the Hawks in the 1993-94 season, scoring 16 points in 52 games. By the 1995-96 season, he was a staple of the Chicago lineup, scoring six goals with 14 assists while playing in 78 games. After posting a career-high 31 points during a 61-game season in the 1997-98 season, Shantz was traded to the Calgary Flames on October 27, 1998 along with Steve Dubinsky in a deal that brought Marty McInnis, Jamie Allison and Eric Andersson to the Blackhawks. Four years later, Shantz was moved to the Colorado Avalanche in another October deal along with Derek Morris and future Blackhawk Dean McAmmond in exchange for Chris Drury and Stephane Yelle. Shantz played in 74 regular season games with the 2002-03 Avalanche and then suited up in six Stanley Cup Playoff games that spring.

That was Shantz’s final season in the NHL, as he spent the next eight years bouncing around between multiple European leagues. His best season came in 2008-09 with the Klagenfurt Athletic Sports Club in Austria, when he scored 17 goals along with 31 assists in a 53-game season.

Shantz’s professional hockey career ended after the 2010-11 season. In all, he played in 642 NHL games with 312 of them coming in Chicago, where he scored 36 goals with 80 assists.