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Danault Negotiations w/ Canadiens Non Existent, But Ready for New Role

Phillip Danualt hasn’t spoken since noting he was leery to changing his role with the Canadiens. He spoke on Tuesday and things have changed.

As of today, Phillip Danault might technically be the No. 1 center for the Montreal Canadiens. That said, how much he is a part of their future remains very much unclear. Arpon Basu took a look at what’s going on in respect to a possible contract extension and Danault’s spot with the organization. The player hints that things are not looking promising, but he’s hopeful.

Related: Reason Canadiens Pulled Kotkaniemi From Overseas Loan

“Right now there’s no negotiations,” Danault said Tuesday. “So we’re at square one.”

Having said publicly a few months ago that he was not keen on the idea of his role changing with the Canadiens, Danault hasn’t spoken since about his future with the team. These comments are his first and they’re not extremely positive. But, he did elaborate, and in a way, backtracked a bit. Danault explained:

“I never said I want to be the first line centre and be, like, the man every game. The way I view things is the day I will be set on a defensive role, full time, that day will be like I want to stop getting better every year. So that’s the way I was viewing things. I want to get better offensively, defensively, I want to do both. I don’t want to be sitting in one chair.”

The reason his role might change is because the Canadiens now have options — something they didn’t have when he first arrived. Nick Suzuki and Jesperi Kotkaniemi have become what Montreal deems to be the possible future for the team down the middle of the ice and that leaves Danault somewhat in limbo.

The trick now will be if he can find a role on this team and prove his worth in a different way.

Unlike a year ago when Danault didn’t think his spot was in jeopardy, he’s understanding the reality of the situation he now found himself in. The good news is, his attitude seems to have changed. He explained, “I’ll kind of be a mentor for the kids, I’ll show them some tricks, I want us to help each other a lot.” Danault said. He added that he just wants to win and believes in those two players.

Does This Mean He’ll Stay?

While it sounds like Danault is ready to embrace his new role and will do what needs to be done to help this team win, it’s unclear if his future with the Canadiens will continue on long-term. Basu notes, “Danault will be put in the position to prove how badly he wants to win with this team and how well he can fit in with its future…” Whether he succeeds in that position isn’t clear.

Next: Maple Leafs Still On Lookout for Third Line Center [Report]

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