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Phillip Danault latest Blackhawks prospect to get his chance

CALGARY, Alberta — The Blackhawks’ organizational depth is finally getting tested.

A day after Adam Clendening scored in his NHL debut, the Hawks called up center Phillip Danault from Rockford on Friday, likely in response to the upper-body injury that held Andrew Shaw out of Thursday’s win over the Calgary Flames. The Hawks also put Patrick Sharp on long-term injured reserve to open up the salary-cap space and roster spot, though his timetable isn’t expected to change. Joel Quenneville said Thursday that Sharp could start skating as soon as today or Saturday, and could join the team for practices by the end of the trip.

The 21-year-old Danault was the 26th pick overall in the 2011 draft. He has three goals in seven assists in 14 games with Rockford this season, with nine goals and 27 assist over parts of four seasons with the IceHogs.

On Thursday night, while discussing Teuvo Teravainen’s progress as a young player in the minors, Hawks general manager Stan Bowman raved about Danault, who projects as a Marcus Kruger-type two-way forward.

“I talked to Phillip Danault about a month ago,” Bowman said. “He said it wasn’t until the end of the last year where he felt comfortable. … He said he didn’t feel like himself until the end of last year. You can see the difference. He’s been dynamite for us this year, a totally different player.”

Danault was a standout in training camp, and had a strong rookie tournament performance before that.

“I know the Hawks are pretty full right now, so if a young player makes the team this year, it’s probably because they forced their hand,” Danault told the Sun-Times in September. “So that’s what I’m trying to do.”

Danault is fine with the Kruger comparisons, too.

“Yeah, sure, Krugs is awesome,” he said. “His type of play, the penalty kill, even 5-on-5 he creates some chances. For sure, if the Hawks want me to be a Kruger, I’ll be a Kruger. But I’ll try to pave my own path.”

Danault was projected by most to compete for a roster spot in 2015-16. But he was more ambitious than that.

“You know what?” he said in September with a smile. “I want my year to be this year. I want to force their hand and make the team this year.”


Twitter: @marklazerus