2011 NHL Draft Prospects: No. 27 Phillip Danault

To become the youngest captain in the entire Canadian Hockey League, you have to be a pretty special player – both on and off the ice. Victoriaville Tigres left wing Phillip Danault has been called just that by numerous scouts from around the NHL. Standing just 5-foot-11 and 162 pounds, he only posted 28 points in a 61-game Quebec Major Junior League season. But after an offseason of training, film study, and skill development, Danault broke out this season, scoring 23 goals and compiling 67 points in 64 games – in addition to a solid plus-17 rating.

“It was tough the first couple of weeks (after earning the Victoriaville captaincy), since it’s a feeling-out process and he was filling in for a guy who was captain for three years,” Victoriaville coach Yanick Jean told NHL.com. “But we’re helping him become an even better captain.

“The thing about Danault is 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.”

Danault had the opportunity to show how hard he works when he represented his country at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament last summer. Playing with just three other guys from the Q (the other 20 were either from the Ontario League or Western League), Danault played against tough competition, ultimately helping lead his team to a Gold Medal.

“I’m a finisher. I finish everything, even my checks,” Danault told NHL.com. “I bring energy and emotion to every shift and I can play both ends of the ice.”

In fact, it’s his play at both ends of the ice that excite scouts from almost every professional organization in continent. True, he is a bit small, but the way he plays the game on the ice, and his professional attitude off the ice is something that simply can not be taught. His hockey sense is great, while his stickhandling and puck skills are up there as well. Scouts might knock his skating ability, but he is a dynamic player that works hard night in and night out. To expect anything less than that once he breaks an NHL roster is just rash.

“He’ll bring work ethic, dedication and leadership,” Jean said. “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.”

Alan Bass, a writer for The Hockey News and THN.com, is the author of The Great Expansion: The Ultimate Risk That Changed The NHL Forever. He has worked for the Philadelphia Flyers’ Fan Development department, going to schools throughout the tri-state area to teach about fitness and the importance of teamwork. He is the General Manager of the Muhlenberg College Division II hockey team as well. You can contact him at Alanbasswriting@aol.com.

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