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Danault still at 'square one' in negotiations with Canadiens

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Montreal Canadiens forward Phillip Danault is entering the final year of his contract, and the pivot says he hasn't started to seriously discuss an extension with the club.

"Right now there’s no negotiations," Danault said Tuesday, according to The Athletic's Arpon Basu. "So we’re at square one."

Danault, who's set to make $3.1 million next season, registered 13 goals and 47 points in 71 games during the shortened 2019-20 campaign. He was on pace to set career highs in both of those departments over 82 contests, and the 27-year-old finished sixth in Selke Trophy voting.

The Quebec native tallied just one goal in 10 playoff games while being asked to play a larger defensive role. Danault voiced his frustration with the change following the team's elimination, but he clarified those comments on Tuesday.

"I never said I want to be the first-line center and be, like, the man every game," he said, according to Basu. "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.

"... I want to get better offensively, defensively, I want to do both. I don’t want to be sitting in one chair."

With youngsters Nick Suzuki and Jesperi Kotkaniemi slowly moving toward full-time roles at center, Danault understands he may slip down the depth chart. He hopes to offer guidance through his experience.

"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," he said.

Danault has spent the past five seasons with Montreal. He ranks third on the club in scoring over that span after recording 170 points through 307 regular-season outings.

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