Montreal Canadiens: How Well Would Phillip Danault Fit in With the Vegas Golden Knights?

MONTREAL, QC - NOVEMBER 07: Max Pacioretty
MONTREAL, QC - NOVEMBER 07: Max Pacioretty /

Phillip Danault is one of the best shutdown centres in the NHL, and these past playoffs, he showed the entire world how valuable he is to the Montreal Canadiens by shutting down some of the best lines in the league.

Although he barely has any offensive production, the Montreal Canadiens managed to produce with the help of other players and Danault and his line were mostly used to shut down top lines.

Toronto Maple Leafs? Check. Winnipeg Jets? Check. Vegas Golden Knights? Check.

Danault even made it somewhat difficult for the Tampa Bay Lightning to score, and if that doesn’t say much, I don’t know what does.

Georges Laraque said yesterday that Danault had agreed on a deal with Vegas.

So, how does he fit in with them?

Well I guess, if you can’t beat them, be them.

They couldn’t beat Danault,  saw how good he is defensively and thought they could use that. He would be playing top minutes, which has to be appealing to him, since he said he was previously worried to lose these minutes with Nick Suzuki and Jesperi Kotkaniemi developing and playing more.

His role in Vegas would be to shut down other teams’ top lines, that’s it. He would not be expected to produce. The Golden Knights have Mark Stone, Max Pacioretty, and the Misfits Line for that: Jonathan Marchessault, William Karlsson, and Reilly Smith.

If Danault were to centre Pacioretty and Stone, he would focus on shutting down the opponents while Stone and Pacioretty could play offensively. But let’s not forget that Stone is an incredible two-way forward as well, and having him play with Danault could truly be amazing.

The centre would also be reunited with Pacioretty, his former teammate and captain, and if they were to play on the same line, that could create some incredible chemistry for them and their line, in general.

Danault’s contract length and salary are yet to be disclosed, but he had turned down a six-year $5 million contract last offseason with the Canadiens, so it would have to be a higher AAV.

Vegas also traded the face of their franchise and Vezina trophy-winner Marc-André Fleury to the Chicago Blackhawks for nothing in return. Perhaps, that was a way to free up some cap space in order to sign Danault.

If Vegas freed up Fleury’s $7 million AAV solely for Danault, that would be a bit too much considering Danault does not offer any offensive play, but if it was for Danault and another player, that would make more sense.

Next. Joel Armia Re-Signed on Eve of Free Agency. dark

What’s ironic though, is that Vegas GM Kelly McCrimmon was asked about needing a new centre today, and he said it wasn’t a concern. But, he wouldn’t be the first GM to not announce any plans in advance, Montreal is extremely familiar with one as well.