Nobody would have blamed Wild winger Mason Shaw if he hung up his skates for good after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament the first time. Or the second time. Or the third.
Instead, he continued to press on, and now Shaw appears to be on the precipice of making the Wild out of training camp. He skated in Friday’s practice at TRIA Rink in downtown St. Paul, a good sign considering the Oct. 13 season opener against the New York Rangers is now less than a week away.
“I’m ecstatic,” Shaw said. “This is where I want to be.”
He’s talking about the NHL. While he has been a total pro as a member of the Iowa Wild in the American Hockey League, Shaw’s dream is the NHL.
“It took some time to get here, for sure,” said Shaw, who had 19 goals and 33 assists with Iowa last season. “There’s still a lot of things to unfold. Just extremely grateful for this opportunity. Every day here is a blessing. I’m happy to be here, and happy with how things are going.”
It’s been an impressive training camp for Shaw to this point. He’s worked his butt off during preseason games, proving to the Wild that he can play a role in the bottom half of the lineup whenever called upon. Because of that, he’s right on the cusp of making the team.
“You can always do a little bit more,” he said. “Just been enjoying what’s going on here and trying to work hard every day.”
As for those three torn ACLs, as much as they have slowed Shaw during his hockey rise, they haven’t stopped him.
“Just trying to learn from things in the past,” he said. “A couple of injuries and some setbacks that necessarily weren’t planned on my path to get to pro hockey. I think through those experiences I’ve learned a lot from about myself, and I’ll use those experiences moving forward, I guess.”
Maybe the most impressive thing about Shaw is he’s still fairly fleeted footed. You would expect a guy to lose some speed after three major knee injuries.
“There’s certainly some days off the ice they don’t feel very good,” Shaw said. “There’s been enough time away from those and enough rehab and stuff that have gone into them that I don’t feel it hinders my performance anymore. That’s something that’s kind of behind me. It’s part of my story, but I’ve gained from it, and I feel as good as I’ve ever felt right now.”
Will it be enough to make the team?
“Like I said the other day: Let the chips fall where they may,” he said.