Phillip Danault Can Be an Everyday Second-Liner

Phillip Danault
MONTREAL, QC - APRIL 12: Phillip Danault #24 of the Montreal Canadiens skates in the warmup prior to Game One of the Eastern Conference First Round during the 2017 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs against the New York Rangers at the Bell Centre on April 12, 2017 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The New York Rangers defeated the Montreal Canadiens 2-0. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

Montreal Canadiens forward Phillip Danault had great first full season in the league. He put up 13 goals and 40 points while showing that he could play with the team’s top forwards. Regardless, many Habs fans claim that he can’t be more than a third line centre.

Phillip Danault Can Be an Everyday Second-Liner

It seems like many forget he is only 24 years old. He may not be a first line centre, but he does have the potential to become a very good on the second line. However, this means one of Alex Galchenyuk or Jonathan Drouin need to take on the role as the top centre. This is very possible when you consider that both players have the offense to be that kind of player.  It is a lack of defense that has held both players back from taking that step.

Danault, on the other hand, has the defense and touch of offense that can make him a good second line centre. He shouldn’t have to deal with first line deployment but should instead play a strong secondary role.

Analyzing Phillip Danault’s Stats

When looking at Danault’s stats from last season, his point totals match up well with centres Adam Henrique and Derick Brassard. Both of which are considered to be good second line centres around the league.  Of the three players, Danault is also the youngest and is still developing as a hockey player.

Danault can very much improve on his previous career high. This upcoming season can prove why he belongs as the team’s second line centre. Playing with higher quality playrs from the season opener to the end could bump Danault into the 50-point player conversation. If he can manage to put up 50 points, he will be among the better second line centres in the league.

When looking at advanced stats, Danault is considered to be a lower-end second line centre offensively as of today. However, he has also played much less than the average second liner. If he is given more time on the ice, it could also result in a higher amount of points.

Danault’s defensive skills are way above the average second line centre’s. He has the defense to make a good second line centre, the offense just needs to develop. Danault will likely gain more confidence in his offensive game, which can only improve his game.

Why Danault Isn’t a One Hit Wonder

There have been many one hit wonders in the NHL who explode for one big season and never live up to it again. Danault most likely will not be one of those players. He has shown that he has the talent to be able to keep up with the best as a glue guy. At 24 years old, Danault also has the chance to show that he is more than just a glue guy with his development. He has shown flashes of brillance that includes an end-to-end goal.

This goal shows just what Danault can do when he puts all his talent together.

Going into last season, he was expected to fill the shoes of Lars Eller who was traded to the Washington Capitals. He did more than that, as Danault has already surpassed Eller’s career best total in his first full season in the league. Danault is the type of player that defies odds and takes his game to the next level. This is what the Canadiens were hoping out of Eller but the flashes never stayed consistent.

Danault has shown consistency throughout the whole season last year.  He stepped up when he was needed most, which led him to be the recipient of the Jacques Beauchamp Trophy.

Phillip Danault isn’t done getting better and will be a force next season. He may not be the leader of his line but Danault’s play is very important to his linemates. Both Alexander Radulov and Max Pacioretty said that they could depend on him as a centre. This gave him the nickname “Le Depanneur Danault.” Danault will do just fine playing in the top six.

Main Photo: Embed from Getty Images


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