Jr. | D | Stillwater, Minn.
Key Statistics: Coach Dave Smith said he had to throw Danford into the fire as a freshman, and thank goodness that he did. He appeared in all 38 games, producing a school-record 24 assists and his 26 points led all rookie blueliners in Atlantic Hockey. His sophomore season yielded 12 assists and 13 points, ranking third on the team in both categories. The 36 career assists is a record for Canisius defensemen. In three seasons with the Bismarck (N.D.) Bobcats of the North American Hockey League, Danford had 18 goals and 32 assists, going 12-13-25 in his final season in 2009-10.
What He Does: Danford is a difference maker, playing well in all three zones. He is never reluctant to join a rush, showing the ability to take a defender wide and rip a shot. In his own end, Danford usually matches up well with any on-rushing skater because he has great feet—the only thing Smith wants is for Danford to make good decisions on when to be physical and when to contain on the defensive end.
The Bigger Picture: The Canisius depth chart on defense reads: No. 1 Danford—the rest will take care of itself, Smith said. Danford will continue to eat up the minutes, playing in all situations. Pro scouts originally took a pass on Danford but are coming around of late thanks to his impressive numbers, strength, and skating ability.
Canisius coach Dave Smith on Danford: “He’s a strong skater, he’s got excellent hockey IQ, and he has a supreme fitness level. His own intellectual maturity has allowed him to not only grow but to make others better—that is the true compliment of a player. I think he will definitely get a look at the next level.’’