Danault: Much to celebrate
After signing a new three-year contract on Sunday, Phillip Danault can now shift his focus to his wedding this coming weekendby Matt Cudzinowski @CanadiensMTL / canadiens.com
MONTREAL - Phillip Danault was hoping to avoid his salary arbitration hearing, which was set for Friday.
He's getting married this coming weekend, so making the trip to Toronto didn't exactly fit with his schedule.
Fortunately, things worked out for the best for the 25-year-old centerman, who will be tying the knot with a brand new three-year contract in his pocket after putting pen to paper on Sunday.
"That's why I wanted to avoid arbitration," said Danault with a laugh during a conference call with members of the media on Monday afternoon. "It was kind of close to the wedding, but we're done now. I'm really happy to be here for three more years. I love Montreal."
Preparations for his wedding to his longtime girlfriend, Marie-Pierre, are in their final stages, of course. He credits her with handling the bulk of the heavy lifting while he's been busy training for his third full season with the Canadiens.
"It's moving along. We're really into it now," mentioned Danault. "My fiancée is really good at it. She takes a lot of the work off my shoulders."
Speaking of work, the Victoriaville native has high expectations for himself come the 2018-19 campaign.
"I know I have another level to my game, for sure. I'm practicing a lot right now and I feel really good... I'm a versatile player, so I know I can play everywhere. It's one of my strengths. I'm going to continue to do that and try and be even better," said Danault, who registered eight goals and 25 points in 52 games last season. "I want to be better offensively and defensively. I haven't had a chance to play on the power play in Montreal yet, so that's something I'd like to do."
The four-year NHL veteran also has high hopes for the team as a whole.
"I think we'll be more competitive beginning next year. With the season we had, I know everyone will respond," affirmed Danault. "Everyone will come to camp ready and we'll be chomping at the bit to play. I really believe in this team."