As MayorsManor first reported on Twitter, the deal also has a No Trade Clause (NTC) for the first few years, then a Modified NTC for the final two.
Danault comes with seven years of NHL experience after originally being drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks 26th overall in the first round of the 2011 Draft.
He only played 32 games in the Windy City before spending the bulk of his career in Montreal. With the Canadiens, the Victoriaville native played more than five seasons and was often one of their better defensive forwards. In total, he’s recorded 199 points in 392 NHL games.
The signing could put LA’s Opening Night lineup something similar to this:
Iafallo – Kopitar – Arvidsson
Kempe – Danault – Brown
Athanasiou – Vilardi – Andersson
Moore – JAD – (Forward 12)
We explored this idea, as well as which forwards will round out the roster, in a detailed article linked below.
Here’s what we’ve been able to learn thus far:
— Of all the UFA forwards out there, LA was most interested in a center. They already had the addition on wing in Arvidsson. In Danault, they get a player who is solid defensively and can take some of the pressure off of Kopitar playing such a heavy workload, especially on the penalty kill.
— Danualt gathered most of his points 5×5 the past few seasons, an area the Kings needed help.
— He gets a lot of votes for the Selke Trophy; he’s just not a power play guy. The Kings will certainly be tougher to play against with him at center. They can add scoring along the wing in future years, either via internal candidates or through free agency. It’s much more difficult to add centers like Danault via free agency. The signing isn’t just about this year. It’s a depth move for the future too.
— What LA also likes about this deal is it allows Vilardi and Byfield to grow into their roles. When either is ready for the 2C, Danault can drop down to 3C.
— For the 2021-22 season, Byfield will either play 3C (with Vilardi moving to wing) or start off with AHL Ontario, as discussed here. Until he’s ready for heavy minutes on a full-time basis in the NHL, they have an insurance policy in Danault that allows them to field a roster worthy of contending for a playoff spot.
— The Kings continue to be intrigued by Tkachyov, their newest Russian forward. They’re not sure what he’ll do in camp and if he can earn an NHL roster spot. However, they knew he had little chance to line up alongside a very young NHL center. The signing of Danault gives him a better chance at legitimately fighting for a spot.
— Wagner and Grundstrom could end up as the waiver casualties in all of this. And JAD being waiver exempt does give them another option. Meaning, he could start the season with AHL Ontario while they sort out all of these bottom-6 players.
— From what we understand, the Kings were at about $2.5M in their previous offers to Athanasiou. They knew they were close before the qualifying offer was due, so they qualified him to block other teams talking to him. They landed at $2.7 today and signed the deal. They like the player. He fit in nicely to the team, the system, and was better defensively than he’d been advertised.
— Vilardi to wing is an option. Turcotte is most likely moving to a more regular role on the wing. As we’ve noted several times, he looked really good there in the second half of the season with Ontario.
— Perhaps the best part about the Danault deal is it gives the Kings plenty of options moving forward. When that young LD1 becomes available, they have the picks and prospects to make that trade.
— Edler is a bridge for depth. More on that signing posted here.
AAV will be 3.5M https://t.co/dAO5NZEsOw
— John Hoven | The Mayor (@mayorNHL) July 28, 2021
— This completes their big three items on their summer shopping list, a top six forward (Arvidsson), a middle six forward (which was preferably a center, hence Danault), and a depth defenseman (Edler).
— As we understand it, the general plan among Kings management is to continue to add in about two young players each season. Nobody is in a hurry to force feed rookies into the LA lineup.
— FWIW: Lias Andersson will be on the hunt for a new number, as Danault will likely take 24.
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