Credit: Tim Fuller-US PRESSWIRE
Phillip Danault is 14 games into his third season with the Victoriaville Tigres of the QMJHL, and if all goes according to plan, he’ll be putting up numbers that will lead into a successful NHL career someday soon.
At the age of 19, Danault couldn’t squeeze into the American Hockey League due to its age restrictions; his only options were to either make it onto the roster of the Chicago Blackhawks or return to juniors – and with the current lockout, that left his hometown Victoriaville as his number one destination.
Born on February 24, 1993, the forward was selected by the Tigres ninth overall in the 2009 QMJHL draft and began playing with the team for the 2009-10 season. In 61 games, the 16-year-old scored 10 goals and 18 assists and ended with a plus-19 for a respectable rookie season.
His numbers went up in his sophomore season, as Danault scored 67 points in 64 games. Twenty-three goals, 44 assists and a plus-17 rating pushed him to the honor of being awarded the Guy Carbonneau Trophy, awarded to the best defensive forward in the QMJHL. He added 15 points in nine playoff games, and his superb play that season also led to his being drafted 26th overall in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft by the Chicago Blackhawks.
Oh, and at the age of 17, he was named captain of the Tigres in January 2011 after previous captain Philip-Michael Devos was traded to Gatineau. Leadership wasn’t exactly new to Danault, however, as he had already captained teams in numerous age groups in a Quebec International Peewee Tournament in 2004 and 2005.
Once again, his numbers the next season would only improve, with 71 points in just 62 games last season.
Danault also made his AHL debut with the Rockford Ice Hogs on March 31 against San Antonio. He notched his first American Hockey League point several games later, being awarded an assist on a goal by Jeremy Morin against the Lake Erie Monsters April 7.
In total, he played seven games with Rockford, earning two assists and 10 penalty minutes before returning to Victoriaville once again for the 2012-13 season, which will be his last in the QMJHL.
The 19-year-old is having yet another productive season so far – in 14 games with the Tigres, he’s already scored 25 points (12-13) and is fifth in the league in points scoring, tied for fourth in goals and third in assists; he leads Victoriaville in all three categories.
The Tigres host the Acadie-Bathurst Titans tonight at 7 p.m.