The Los Angeles Kings have signed forward Phillip Danault to a six-year deal carrying an average annual value (AAV) of $5.5 million.
Danault is coming off a three-year, $9.25 million contract which he signed with the Montreal Canadiens. The Habs acquired the 28-year-old and a second-round pick in a 2016 trade with the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for Dale Weise and Tomas Fleischmann. The pick turned into defenseman Alexander Romanov.
Danault put up five goals and 24 points in 53 games this season in addition to finishing sixth in voting for the Selke Trophy.
A Defensive Specialist
After struggling at times during the regular season, especially offensively, the centreman was key to the Canadiens’ surprising run to the Stanley Cup Final. His ability to shut down the opposition’s best forwards was crucial in the postseason. In the first three rounds, Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, Kyle Connor, Nikloaj Ehlers, Mark Stone and Max Pacioretty were all non-factors going up against Danault’s line.
He also won a ton of key faceoffs and was an instrumental part of Montreal’s penalty kill which was dominant throughout the playoffs.
How Danault Will Fit In
In Los Angeles, Danault will slot behind captain Anze Kopitar down the middle in the top six while awaiting the arrival of the Kings’ young, talented crop of centres including Quinton Byfield, Gabe Vilardi, Rasmussen Kupari, and Alex Turcotte. The Kings also acquired Viktor Arvidsson from the Nashville Pre earlier in the offseason
Danault’s departure is a significant loss for the Canadiens. For the better part of two years, he centred one of the most effective lines in the NHL alongside Brendan Gallagher and Tomas Tatar in addition to his defensive prowess.
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Melissa has been covering the Montreal Canadiens for The Hockey Writers since March of 2020. She is also THW’s Social Media Community Manager and a co-host of Chicks & Sticks, a weekly show produced by THW. In 2006, she spearheaded the social media initiatives for Tennis Canada and Rogers Cup and was the primary person responsible for their upkeep for over 10 years. She has written articles for multiple tennis websites and interviewed the likes of Roger Federer and Serena Williams. While her career in sports started in tennis, her first love has always been hockey. She has a journalism degree from Concordia University.