Blackhawks' coach Joel Quenneville says Andrew Shaw is 'irreplaceable'

The 24-year-old forward is set to become a restricted free agent this offseason.

Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville called forward Andrew Shaw, who is set to become a restricted free agent, "irreplaceable" during the team's end of season press conference Wednesday at the United Center.

Shaw is coming off a two-year, $4 million deal. The 24-year-old gritty forward showed his value throughout the playoffs, scoring a team-high four goals despite being suspended one game for using a homophobic slur towards an official. He scored 14 goals with 20 assists in 78 games during the regular season.

When Marian Hossa went down with an injury, Shaw stepped up and helped stabilize the Hawks top line until his return. Shaw played on all four lines this season at wing.

The salary cap ceiling is estimated to be around $74 million next season. If Hawks General Manger Stan Bowman can free up the $4 million cap space occupied by Bryan Bickell's contract then he'll have some money to try to make a deal with Shaw to keep him in Chicago. If not, Bowman would likely trade Shaw like he did Brandon Saad last summer.

Shaw was originally selected with the 139th overall pick in the fifth round of the 2011 NHL Draft. He has 70 goals and 67 assists for 137 points in 322 games for the Chicago in five seasons.