Danault, who was in his second full season with the Canadiens, was having another solid season when he was hospitalized and was forced to miss more than a month after being hit in the head by Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara’s 124-kilometer-per-hour slapshot. He was released the next day, but suffered from both concussion-like symptoms as well as vertigo. When the center returned to the lineup, he struggled upon return, tallying just one goal and one assist in his final nine games of the season
With the Canadiens short on solid center options last season, Danault and Jonathan Drouin served as a top-six center for the team. Danault is likely to serve in the same capacity with some suggestions that he could be penciled in ahead of Drouin as the No. 1 center next season since the team failed to acquire any more established centers. Regardless of what line he ends up on, the 25-year-old defensive center did have a career-high on faceoff percentage at 52.8 percent and has had a career percentage of 50.9 percent and ranked third on the team in ATOI with 16:35 behind just Max Pacioretty and Drouin.
There was some surprise it took so long for Danault to get a contract as he represents one of general manager Marc Bergevin’s biggest successes when he was acquired via trade from the Chicago Blackhawks for Dale Weiss and Thomas Fleischmann back in 2016. His best season was in 2016-17 when he played in all 82 games, putting up 13 goals and 40 points. The center just completed a bridge deal where he made just $913K, so this is a significant raise for him.