Defense: Danault is arguably the single best defensive forward in hockey. He never compromises his positioning in hopes of pouncing on turnovers, instead staying glued to the hips of opposing stars. He displays good anticipation, an even better stick and tireless work ethic. A true shutdown center whose defensive commitment and proficiency are unquestionable.
Vision: He may not be known for his offensive contributions, but he’s quietly ranked among the league’s most effective playmakers in recent years. Danault scans the ice, spots teammates in advantageous situations and connects with them via crisp, accurate passes. No style, all substance.
Faceoffs: Much like most defensive forwards, Danault is a terrific faceoff man. He’s leaned on heavily in tough matchups and nevertheless claims well over half of the draws he takes. Due to this skill, coaches can throw him out for crucial late-game faceoffs—whether his team is trying to defend a lead or climb back into the contest.
Passive: Though he always provides great effort on the defensive end, he isn’t as assertive as he could be on the attack. Most two-way forwards rely on their instincts to tip the scales in one direction or another, but Danault prefers to play it safe a bit too often. He has the talent to be more productive without sacrificing his team’s structure.
Finish: Danault simply doesn’t score all that much. He possesses an average shot and converts at an average rate. Moreover, because he’s so focused on the right side of the puck, he finds himself pulling the trigger from suboptimal locations. This is the trade-off for his elite defense.