June 24, 2011 was a big night for Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman. He was very active during the NHL Entry Draft at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, MN. Besides drafting Mark McNeill, Brandon Saad, Adam Clendening and Andrew Shaw, Bowman traded Brian Campbell to the Florida Panthers and Troy Brouwer to the Washington Capitals. Bowman used the 26th pick overall that he received for Brouwer and drafted Canadian forward Phillip Danault.
Last season Danault made his pro hockey debut , appearing in seven games for the Rockford IceHogs, after skating in 62 games for the Victoriaville Tigres of the QMJHL. Danault had 2 assists and was minus five with 10 penalty minutes in his end of the year stint with the Ice Hogs. He scored 18 goals and was second on the Tigres with 53 assists while finishing plus 11 with 61 penalty minutes in QMJHL play. Victoriaville finished second in the East Division behind eventual Memorial Cup champion Shawinigan but was swept in a first round playoff series with Baie-Comeau. Danault had 3 assists and was minus one with 4 penalty minutes in four playoff games.
Danault's 2012 season in Victoriaville has gotten off to a white hot start. He has 11 goals and 5 assists through the Tigres first nine games of the season. Danault plays a high energy, two way game and his effort is never questioned. He has also developed into a dynamic skater capable of making plays at high speed on the rush. Though he might not be naturally skilled enough to be a scoring forward at the next level, his work ethic and skating ability should guarantee a future in the NHL. Some scouting reports say Danault is not far off from playing a top nine role in the NHL. I expect him to finish the season in Victoriaville this year and make another year end appearance in Rockford. But that can all change if and when the lockout ends and half the IceHogs roster heads back to Chicago.