With Dave Hakstol leaving for the bench boss position with the Philadelphia Flyers, UND needed a new assistant coach to take over Dane Jackson’s assistant coach role with Brad Berry’s promotion to head coach and Jackson’s promotion to associate coach. The Fighting Hawks looked for someone with NHL experience, a strong defenseman mentor like Berry, and someone who could run the power play with the top talent UND had. How did Matt Shaw do?
The former Devils,Sharks,and Wild assistant had a track record of producing top-flight power play units especially with the Sharks.
Shaw used that experience along with his time at the USHL level as the Head Coach and GM for the Dubuque Fighting Saints to help North Dakota develop a power play plan that will serve it well in the future. This year, the Fighting Hawks, thanks partly to Shaw had a combined Special Teams rank of fifteenth in the nation. That rank is impressive given the caliber of opponents that UND faces in the NCHC every single weekend. While UND’s power play was similar to last season in terms of output, it generated chances and often times the ability to generate those power plays turned the tide of the game for UND during this season.
With UND set to return key players like forward Austin Poganski, look for Shaw to use him in a role similar to former UND captain Stephane Pattyn. Poganski excels at screening goalies and redirecting the puck in to the back of the net, or allowing a strong point shot to get through. With Tyson Jost coming to campus, look for UND’s power play to improve considerably from a pretty good set up,as Jost will force teams to change how they defend UND. No longer can teams key on top-line forwards or defenseman at the point since Jost’s quick wit will ensure he earns time quarterbacking a power play unit for the Fighting Hawks akin to what Nick Backstrom provides for the Caps. The sauce passes and short side goals for UND will go up as Jost will be able to set up both Poganski in the slot and defensemen with strong point shots like Gage Ausmus to blast shots to the net.
The main take away from this review is that Matt Shaw is an outstanding assistant coach UND fans, enjoy his artwork crafting these power plays,because he will end up as an NHL head coach somewhere some season soon.
Assistant Coach Grade- 8/10 as the power play improved towards the end of the season but did not surpass the 2014-2015 squad in terms of percentage of chances converted. Next year when Shaw has had a full off season to work within the program look for the power play to improve and this grade to improve as well. UND’s defense also played well throughout the season partly thanks to input from Shaw.
Stats obtained from: http://collegehockeystats.net/