Los Angeles Kings sign Phillip Danault to 6-year, $33M deal in NHL free agency

The Los Angeles Kings signed center Phillip Danault to a six-year contract with $5.5 million average annual value on Wednesday, taking a major step forward from their rebuild.

The 28-year-old Danault has never been an offensive force, but his defense has put him in the conversation for the Selke Trophy over the past few seasons. He also has won 54% of his faceoffs in his career.

Danault had five goals and 19 assists in 53 regular-season games for the Montreal Canadiensand one goal and three assists in 22 playoff games last season. He's coming off a three-year, $9.25 million contract. His best season came in 2018-19, when he had 12 goals and 41 assists in 81 games.

The Kings have been out of the playoffs since 2018, amassing one of the deepest collection of prospects in the NHL to go along with the veterans still remaining from their Stanley Cup championship seasons.

Danault slots behind one of those stars, Anze Kopitar, in the Kings' lineup and could settle into a third-line center role after 2020 second overall pick Quinton Byfield is ready.

The Kings on Wednesday also signed former Canucks defenseman Alexander Edler to a one-year, $3.5 million deal. The 35-year-old veteran had eight assists and 58 penalty minutes last season.

In addition, Los Angeles re-signed forward Andreas Athanasiou to a one-year, $2.7 million contract on Wednesday. The Kings had traded for forward Viktor Arvidsson earlier this month.

For Montreal, the loss of Danault affects the thinnest part of its lineup. The team signed center Cedric Paquette to a one-year deal in an effort to bolster that group.
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