‘Hawks 2011 first-round pick Danault told to emulate Kruger

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After completing his first full AHL campaign, Phillip Danault has gotten very specific instructions from Rockford IceHogs coach Ted Dent and Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman.

“They told me they want me to be a Kruger,” Danault told CSN Chicago. “So I’ll try to mold myself after Marcus Kruger.”

The Blackhawks took him with the 26th overall pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft after they acquired the pick from Washington in exchange for Troy Brouwer. Danault is one of the 10 first rounders from that class that hasn’t reached the NHL level yet.

Although Danault excelled offensively at the junior level, by asking him to be more like Kruger the Blackhawks are making it clear that they see him being more of a shutdown role at the NHL level. He’s already begun to adapt to that style of play in the minors.

“(Danault) embraces that role,” Dent said. “Everyone loves to score goals. But the guys that defend well and keep the puck out of our net are just as important. They just don’t get the recognition.”