The Canadiens also received a 2018 second-round draft pick from Chicago in exchange for forwards Dale Weise and Tomas Fleischmann.
Montreal general manager Marc Bergevin was an assistant GM with the Blackhawks when the team selected Danault with the 26th overall pick in the 2011 NHL draft.
"Phillip Danault is a young and gifted player who will be part of our core group of young forwards for many years to come," Bergevin said in a statement Friday. "I am very pleased to have him join our organization.”
Arpon Basu of LNH.com believes Danault will make an immediate impact:
Corey Pronman of ESPN.com gave his assessment of the player the Canadiens acquired:
Montreal will pay 30 percent of Weise’s remaining salary, according to Chris Peters of CBS Sports. He and Fleischmann will both become unrestricted free agents in the summer.
The Blackhawks are second in the Central Division at 38-20-5 and added the veterans Weise and Fleischmann a day after acquiring Andrew Ladd from the Winnipeg Jets. Chicago also acquired Christian Ehrhoff from the Los Angeles Kings on Friday, per SportsCentre.
Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times noted the Blackhawks are putting a premium on the present over future with their trade activity over the past two days:
The Blackhawks may be sacrificing their future with the moves they’ve made ahead of Monday’s trade deadline. But by doing so, they have enhanced their chances of winning their second consecutive Stanley Cup title and their fourth in seven years.