The Chicago Sun Times’ Mark Lazerus reported Monday evening that Chicago Blackhawks prospect Phillip Danault could be out as long as three months following hip surgery. The Blackhawks have not yet confirmed this report, but Lazerus is typically a credible source. This injury would be a blow to the Blackhawks’ offseason plans of adding younger prospects to their experienced core.
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Danualt was a first-round pick of the Blackhawks in 2011. He was selected 26th overall after playing for the QMJHL Victoriaville Tigres. Danault played 216 games with the Tigres, recording 65 goals and 159 assists. He later would play 27 games with the Moncton Wildcats in the QMJHL, recording 9 goals and 32 assists.
Danault has spent his last two full seasons with the Rockford IceHogs, Chicago AHL team. Before the 2013-14 season, he had appeared in just 12 games for the IceHogs. In his AHL career, Danault has 18 goals and 94 assists in 154 games. Danault was recalled to the Blackhawks this past season, appearing in two games. He did not record a point in either contest.
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Danault was supposed to be part of the new young core of players for the 2015-16 season headlined by Teuvo Teravainen. His main competition to make the Blackhawks would have been from Garrett Ross and Mark McNeill. Ross and McNeill have played with Danault down in Rockford in previous seasons. This surgery will most likely guarantee Danault another season in Rockford.
Danault will not be the only probable future Blackhawk in Rockford next season. He most likely will be playing along fellow forwards like Vincent Hinostroza, Tanner Kero and Ryan Hartman. Artemi Panarin could potentially spend some time in Rockford as well, but he figures to have the shortest stay if his game game can adjust from the KHL style of play to the North American style of play. The Blackhawks envision Panarin’s transition similar to that of Teravainen last season.
Panarin is a on different path than Danault, who is expected to follow the playing style of one of the more established Blackhawks. The Blackhawks organization had reported to Comcast SportsNet back in 2014 that whenever Danault blossoms as a player, they would like hi to remind fans of Marcus Kruger. Danault said, “They told me they want me to be a Kruger. So I’ll try to mold myself after Marcus Kruger.”
In case you’ve forgotten, the Blackhawks still have not signed the real Kruger to a new contract. The Blackhawks defense among its offensive players would benefit greatly by getting Kruger signed to a new contract and having the “new Kruger” healthy.
The Blackhawks will open training camp at the University of Notre Dame on Sept. 18. The Blackhawks will have their first United Center practice on Monday, Sept. 21. But Danault won’t be part of either event.
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