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Gallagher on Danault: 'He's had a hell of a year'

Phillip Danault's hard work and tenacity certainly didn't go unnoticed this season

by Pierre-Antoine Mercier. Translated by Matt Cudzinowski. @CanadiensMTL / canadiens.com

BROSSARD - Phillip Danault didn't just turn heads in Montreal during his third full season with the Canadiens. He opened plenty of eyes across the League, too.

On Monday, Danault was voted the recipient of the Jacques Beauchamp-Molson Trophy, which is presented annually to the Habs player who played a dominant role during the regular season, without earning any particular honor. 

It marked the second time in three years that the Victoriaville native earned the prize.

According to Danault's right-winger, the award was very well deserved.

"We know how important Phillip is for our group. It's good for him to be recognized for it," said assistant captain Brendan Gallagher. "He's having a phenomenal season. It's easy for me to play with him."

Video: Brendan Gallagher on the play of Phillip Danault

Danault takes pride in being good defensively, and he believes it's a big reason why he managed to succeed Paul Byron as this year's Jacques Beauchamp-Molson Trophy recipient.

"That's always been my role since I was in Junior. I'm not very flashy, but I handle the small details and I work," explained Danault. "Not everyone sees those things, but at the end of the day, those small details help win games. I try to do the best I can. I'm very happy to win this trophy."

The former Chicago Blackhawks first-round selection earned 109 points in the voting process. He bested Andrew Shaw (43 points) and Jeff Petry (41 points), who finished second and third, respectively. Since the award was first introduced in 1981, Danault became just the fifth player in franchise history to win the honor twice.

In addition to being reliable on the defensive side of things, Danault is also enjoying a career year in multiple departments. He established highs in assists (39), points (51), differential (plus-20), faceoffs won (833), shots blocked (54) and hits (89).

What matters most to the Canadiens' No. 24, though, is consistency.

"I want to do my job every night. Consistency is the biggest thing in the League. I try to outdo myself every night. I think that's my trademark," mentioned Danault, who is just one goal shy of matching his career-high. "For me, preventing a goal with a dive feels just like I scored, honestly. It means a lot to me that my teammates recognize those small details."

Video: Phillip Danault on his Jacques Beauchamp Trophy nod

In the conversation 

With the Jacques Beauchamp-Molson Trophy already in his pocket, Danault's name has also come up in conversations about the Frank J. Selke Trophy, which is awarded to the best defensive forward.

In addition to going up against top lines night after night, Danault has also collected his fair share of points while continuing to prove his worth as much defensively as in the faceoff circle.

He currently sits tied for seventh in the League alongside Dylan Larkin with 833 faceoff wins. He also ranks 13th in the League with a 54.9% efficiency rating on draws.

Another interesting fact is that Danault is also the League's most-utilized pivot when it comes to taking faceoffs in short-handed situations. He has 156 on his resume, while the second-ranked player in that category - Adam Lowry - has 120.

Admittedly, Danault never would have imagined that his name would be spoken alongside the likes of Patrice Bergeron, Anze Kopitar and others.

"I know that my name has been going around. I still have work to do. Claude uses me at the right times. I'm starting to play on the power play a little bit. I've really moved up the ranks. He uses me well," explained Danault. "He had the chance to coach Patrice Bergeron. I'm not saying he sees Bergeron in me, but he sees some of the same defensive traits. But, I still have some progress to make."

Nevertheless, Danault has definitely earned the right to be a part of the Selke Trophy talks.

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