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Chicago Blackhawks: Marko Dano, An Inside Look

By Gail Kauchak
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A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about Artem Anisimov, the Russian center the Chicago Blackhawks recently acquired from the Columbus Blue Jackets. But another promising young forward was involved in this trade as well. He is the Austrian Marko Daňo. Anisimov and Daňo actually spent some time together on the same line in Columbus last year. It will be interesting to see if the Blackhawks utilize this chemistry when the new season rolls around. As coach Joel Quenneville would say, “We’ll see.” But for now, this is what I was able to uncover about the Chicago Blackhawks’ new 20-year-old in Daňo.

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Daňo was born on Nov. 30, 1994, in Eisenstadt, Austria, but he actually grew up in Trencin, Slovakia. That’s right, this is the same city where Marian Hossa lives. Daňo has expressed that he has looked up to Hossa since the former was a child, and is very excited have a chance to play with him.

Daňo is on the smallish side at 5-foot-11 and 183 lbs, but apparently he makes up for it with some grit. His natural position is right wing, although he has played center in the past, and says he is willing to play left wing.  From 2008-12, he played for the Dukla Trencin U18 and U20 teams, and he also spent time with the organization’s top club. On the international level, he represented Slovakia at the in 2011 U18 World Junior Championship and in 2012 at the U20 World Junior Championship.

He was then selected 26th overall in the 2012 KHL draft, and spent the 2012-13 season playing for the Slovan Bratislava team. He again represented Slovakia in the 2013 U20 World Juniors, as well as the 2013 World Championship.

Daňo was drafted in 2013 by the Columbus Blue Jackets. He was selected in the first round, 27th overall. After finishing the season with the Bratislava team, Daňo signed an entry-level contract with the Jackets on March 14, 2014.

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So this past season was Daňo’s rookie year on North American ice. He made his NHL debut on Oct. 9, and scored a goal with an assist in his second game on October 11. Mostly because of other players’ injuries, he ended up playing in eight games before being sent down to the Jackets’ AHL affiliate, the Springfield Falcons. But in February 2015, Daňo was called up for good, and ended the season with 8 goals and 13 assists in 35 games. Not too shabby for a rookie.

So what other attributes can this young player bring to the Chicago Blackhawks? Columbus Blue Jackets head coach Todd Richards had this to say about Daňo after he tallied 2 goals and an assist against Vancouver in March: “He’s playing big, playing strong, physical in the corners and physical in the battles. Once he creates a little separation, you saw some different things. He can score goals and he makes a great pass to (Scott) Hartnell so he can score his goal. There’s a lot of skill and ability in him.”

Speaking of Scott Hartnell, Daňo’s former teammate had some positive things to say about him as well. “What I like about the kid (Daňo) is how he works. He’s not shy. He gets in on guys with no hesitation,” Hartnell said. “He’s making the most of the opportunity, and you can just see his confidence swelling. He looks like a pretty special young man to me. I’m excited to see where this goes.”

This is how Daňo himself describes his play: “I’m a two-way player with good hockey sense. I can protect the puck in the corners and make those little plays in there. Every player is different, but I like to play a hard game, and Marian Hossa plays kind of the (same) style of game as me, but he’s a different level. I’m trying to catch him with that.”

I don’t know about you, but I’m not sure there’s a better player to emulate than Hossa. If this kid is really serious, he could have a remarkable opportunity to utilize this great Blackhawks organization and grow as a player and person. Fellow Blackhawk Up staff writer Tim Lively wrote an article likening Daňo to Brandon Saad. Saad too was often compared to Hossa.

It does appear that Daňo is very serious and determined. He had an impressive rookie season with the Columbus Blue Jackets, and therefore didn’t really need to attend the Blackhawks prospect camp in July. But he chose to do so anyway. It seems that he’s anxious to get things rolling with his new team.

Welcome, Marko Daňo! We can’t wait to see how you will fit in with the Chicago Blackhawks!

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