The Blackhawks selected 11 players in this weekend's 2011 NHL Entry Draft, adding lots of new talent into an already deep system. But what are these players' strengths and weaknesses? chicagoblackhawks.com brings you what draft experts had to say about some of the top picks. Today's scouting report: center Phillip Danault, taken 26th overall.
Victoriaville (QMJHL) head coach Yanick Jean: “He’s a tremendous worker. He’s dedicated to the game, but now he’s taking more and more leadership and it’s contagious. He has the admiration of every single one of his teammates just on how hard he works. He’ll bring work ethic, dedication and leadership. His passion for the game is unique because he’s the most passionate kid I’ve ever coached. He plays with pride; he’s not the type of kid who thinks he’s better than the next guy, but he challenges himself to be as good if not better.”
Red Line Report: “Had a great second half and playoffs after being shifted back to his natural center position. Has the complete trust of his coaches, who play him on both special teams units and in all tight situations. Though he possesses fine offensive gifts and a non-stop motor, it’s tough to project what role he fills at the next level. In the Q, he’s noticeable every shift and does enough to be a versatile contributor. Cuts to open ice and uses his motor and speed to separate from defenders heading to net. Instinctively identifies and exploits open lanes in the offensive zone. Finishes his chances and also moves the puck to the open man at the right time. Gives an honest effort every shift. But is small and lacks the frame to put on significant muscle mass. Is easily ridden off the puck even at the junior level.”
Hockeysfuture.com: “For a team looking for character and leadership, they need to look no further than Philippe Danault. After a mid-season trade saw Philip-Michael Devos, the captain of the Victoriaville Tigres dealt, the team quickly named the 17-year-old Danault as their new leader.
"Playing in his second year with the Tigres, Danault has improved dramatically thanks to his hard work both on and off the ice. More importantly, when the playoffs rolled around, Danault stepped his game up even more. A key contributor when the Tigres upset the higher-ranked Acadie-Bathurst Titan in a four-game sweep in the first round, Danault also scored two goals, including the game-winner in the only game that the Tigres won in the second round. While this might not sound like much of an achievement, it is worth noting that Victoriaville faced the powerhouse Saint John Sea Dogs as a second round opponent and this was the only game they lost in the post season prior to the league finals. Overall, Danault posted five goals and 15 points in nine playoff games.
"A leader both on and off the ice, Danault’s effort level can never be questioned. Whether it’s scoring a goal, finishing a check or killing a penalty, he plays an all-weather, two-way game. Though he might not be naturally skilled enough to be a scoring forward at the next level, his work ethic should guarantee a future in the NHL.”
The Hockey News: “Some scouts have compared Phillip Danault to 2010 third-rounder Michael Bournival, a fellow QMJHL player who was a late Canadian cut for the WJC. Neither projects to be a top scorer, but they are lauded for their work ethic and character. Danault and top prospect Sean Couturier tied for second in the QMJHL with eight shorthanded points, which is a testament to his ability to excel at both ends of the ice. A member of Canada’s gold-medal team at the Ivan Hlinka tournament, Danault plays an inspired game, but has to get stronger if he wants that style to translate to the NHL level.”