As goaltending prospects go, Yann Danis never appeared to be of the blue chip variety. He might still not be, but the 27 year old has made a bit of a name for himself with New York Islanders.
Danis has been playing alot, and playing well with the lowly Boatmen - sporting a 8-10-2 record with GAA of 2.44.
Danis was born June 21, 1981 in Lafontaine, Quebec and was a free agent signing by the Montreal Canadiens in the spring of 2004. A graduate CJHL's Cornwall Colts and the ECAC's Brown Bears, Danis made his NHL debut with the Canadiens on October 12, 2005, becaming the third goalie in franchise history to begin his career with a shutout - a 2-0 win over the Atlanta Thrashers.
He was first spotted tending goal for the Cornwall Colts of the CJHL during the 1999-2000 season. Danis had a very good season as he got the nod as the league's rookie of the year as well as placing on the league's academic All Star Team. Danis helped the Colts to a league championship and an appearance in the nationwide Fred Page Cup.
The accolades continued for Danis as he headed off for a four year stint with Brown University in 2000-01. That season he received the Kevin R. Pope Memorial Trophy, given to the freshman who contributes most to his team’s success. He followed up with that season by being voted as Second Team All American, becoming Brown’s first All-American since 1992. He also earned Second Team All ECAC and First Team All Ivy honors that season, while leading the ECAC in save percentage and goals against average.
More honours followed in 2002-03 as Danis received the Class of 1936 Trophy as team MVP for the second year in a row and was named to the New England Hockey Writers Association All-Star Team, also for the second year running. In a season in which he was named Goalie of the Week five times, he again was awarded Second-Team All-Ivy honors. Danis finished second in the ECAC and NCAA with a .929 save percentage
In his final collegiate season, Danis appeared in 30 of 31 games for Brown, posting a 15-11-4 record, a 1.81 GAA (3rd in NCAA) and a .942 save percentage (2nd in NCAA). This time his stats were strong enough to be named Ivy League Player of the Year and ECAC Player of the Year. he topped his collegiate career of by winning the Ken Dryden Award as best goaltender and was named as a finalist for Hobey Baker Award for top player in NCAA.
Coming off impressive collegiate career, Danis signed a three year entry level contract with the Montreal Canadiens organization in the spring of 2004, where he was sent to the team's AHL's affiliate in Hamilton. In his first full season with the Bulldogs in 2004-05, Danis acquitted himself well with a 28-17-6 record and 2.34 GAA. The following season, Danis got the call to Montreal, when newly acquired Cristobal Huet, backup to Jose Theodore was slow in recouperating from off season knee surgery.
Donning the number 75 he wore in training camp for two season, Danis started in first NHL game early that season, in relief of Theodore. After blanking the Thrashers with 32 saves, he earned succesive starts, running his record to 3-0, before losing two games in late November. After Huet returned, Danis was called up once more, to spell an injured Theodore. He saw 12 minutes of action in relief of Huet in that stint. He would return to Hamilton shortly after, where he remained clogged in a system filled with talented goaltending prospects.
During his four seasons with the Bulldogs, the accolades continued to follow Danis. After setting a team record for wins by a goaltender with 28, he was named the Bulldogs Swiss Chalet Rookie of the Year, and also won the Molson Cup three stars award. In 2005-06, he was named the co-MVP of the 2006 Reebok Hockey AHL All-Star Classic. In 2006-07, Danis became the Bulldogs all time franchise leader in wins. He remained in the Canadiens organization for 2007-08, signing a one year deal as a restricted free agent.
Prior to the 2008-09 season, Danis envisioned no future in Montreal with Carey Price and Jaroslav Halak ahead of him, and opted to sign elsewhere as a free agent for the upcoming campaign.
Banking on Islanders goalie Rick Dipietro's brittle bones, Danis signed with the Islanders on July 2, 2008. It might have been good luck or good timing, as the Isles soon lost Dipietro for the season.
Having made the most of his break, Danis is now a bright spot in another long and gloomy season on the island. One former associate not surprised with Danis' success is his former goaltending coach with the Colts, Mario Viens.
When asked if he is surprise to see Danis doing so well at the NHL level, Viens, a former QMJHL MVP with the Cornwall Royals responds in the negative.