The behemoth Danis-Pepin began to establish himself as a bona fide force on the University of Maine Black Bears defense this season. Hockey East’s youngest player (born April 11, 1988) saw action in 23 games this season, posting five points (all assists). He was recently named the recipient of Maine’s Jack Semler Award as the team’s most improved player.
2007-08: During his third season at the University of Maine, Danis-Pepin continued to show progress in the offensive end. For example, his 12 points surpassed the prior two seasons’ output combined, and he accomplished this in roughly half the number of games. Furthermore, despite being the youngest member of the team, Danis-Pepin was tied for second among defensemen in points.
2008-09: Danis-Pepin skated in 36 games and recorded 13 assists as a senior at the University of Maine.
2009-10: The blueliner played in 38 AHL games with the Rockford IceHogs, scoring 1 goal, 7 assists for 8 points. He finished the year in the ECHL with the Toledo Walleye, where he scored 1 goal, 9 assists for 10 points in 13 regular season games. He added 1 goal, 3 assists in 4 playoff games with the Walleye, where he was able to play regularly at even strength and on the power play.
2010-11: Danis-Pepin spent even more time in the ECHL in his second pro season, appearing in 33 games with the Toledo Walleye and scoring 3 goals, 9 assists for 12 points. He finished with a minus-12 rating at the ECHL level. The blueliner also skated in 23 AHL with Rockford, but was often a healthy scratch with the crowded IceHogs blue line. He scored 1 goal and 4 points in the AHL with an even plus/minus rating.
Danis-Pepin is a towering defenseman who is very much a work in progress that is still trying to fill out a 6’7 body. His size has been a tremendous asset and he has learned to use it well to his advantage. Two areas that have been even more impressive are his great hockey sense and his understanding of how to play his position effectively. He has good offensive capabilities and a keen awareness of his surroundings, particularly in the defensive zone. While Danis-Pepin skates well, his speed is an area of concern that should improve as he continues to mature and develop.
Danis-Pepin will be in the mix in Rockford for the 2011-12 season, but another stint in the ECHL is not out of the question considering the Blackhawks' number of defensive prospects at the minor league level.