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Analysis

Blackhawks: Former Prospect is Thriving with New Team

Phillip Danault #24, Montreal Canadiens Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports
Phillip Danault #24, Montreal Canadiens Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports
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The Blackhawks traded Phillip Danault to the Montreal Canadiens in 2016 for two depth forwards.

The Blackhawks are in desperate need of a quality two-way center who can not only lock down the opposition’s best forwards but also contribute offensively. They had one in their organization before who played with the franchise for 30 games and put up 5 points for the team in 2015-16. He would then break out the following season, putting up 40 points and his faceoff percentage never dipped below 50%.

Watching the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Phillip Danault‘s value skyrocketed. He has consistently centered the shutdown line to, well, shut down the opposition’s best forward line. In the semi-finals, he did a magnificent job shutting down the top line of the Vegas Golden Knights. He was also trusted by his team to ice the puck whenever he was on the ice due to his dependability in the faceoff dot.

His defensive talents would be highly coveted by the Blackhawks right now as no center was a dependable option to take important faceoffs this season. Danault would be able to go onto the ice at any moment of the game, and win faceoffs for the team regardless of the situation, whether it be an empty net, defending an empty net, or slowing the game down with a needed icing call.

If Danault was still with the Blackhawks with the skillset he currently holds, he would make a great line with Ryan Carpenter and David Kampf. These two are two-thirds of the line that shut down Connor McDavid in last year’s play-in round and Danault would make sure they would rarely lose a faceoff.

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Winning a faceoff means Patrick Kane and Alex Debrincat would be able to get on the ice faster, and shutting down the top forwards would mean less trouble for Kevin Lankinen. Stan Bowman made multiple questionable trades, and he let go of a big-time player in one of them.

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