Phillip Danault highly unlikely to return to Canadiens

Montreal Canadiens' Phillip Danault skates prior to an NHL hockey game. (Graham Hughes/CP)

Impending unrestricted free agent Phillip Danault, who was left exposed ahead of Wednesday's expansion draft, is highly unlikely to return to the Montreal Canadiens, per Sportsnet's Eric Engels.

Engels also reports that there's no truth to a reported deal between the Seattle Kraken and Danault.

As part of expansion rules, the Kraken were allowed to start the free agency signing period early and could negotiate with UFAs starting at 7 a.m. Sunday through 7 a.m. Wednesday.

Danault, an elite defensive centre, had 24 points in 53 regular-season games for the Canadiens, adding four points in 22 post-season contests and playing a pivotal shutdown role as Montreal made a run to its first Stanley Cup Final since 1993.

Danault, 28, is coming off a three-year, $9.25-million deal with the Canadiens.

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