Cyclones Alum Justin Danforth Set to Make NHL Debut
After playing professionally for six teams in three countries over five years, former Cyclones forward Justin Danforth is set to make his NHL debut for the Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday night as they host the Detroit Red Wings.
Danforth, 28, will become the 27th former Cyclones player that goes soon to the National Hockey League, and the first since last season, when goaltenders Michael Houser and Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen made their NHL debuts for the Buffalo Sabres; Cincinnati's NHL affiliate.
Danforth spent one season in the Queen City, playing the bulk of his 2017-18 campaign with the Cyclones. In 44 regular season games, Justin scored 28 goals and tallied 59 points overall. He finished second on the team in scoring with 16 fewer points and 28 fewer games played than Jesse Schultz. Danforth also skated in 15 games for Cincinnati's AHL affiliate, the Rochester Americans, scoring two goals and five points that season.
"The thing about Justin is when he came to Cincinnati, you just knew he was going to be a great player," said former Cyclones Head Coach Matt McDonald (now Assistant Coach with AHL-Grand Rapids). "He was just a cut above this league, honestly. Every time he would go out for a shift, it was like you were waiting for something to happen because you expected it to happen. He's a great hockey player, but a tremendous person above all us. Justin was somebody who came to work every day and always strived to improve his game. I'm ecstatic for him to have this opportunity. He worked so hard to get this. He's worked for everything that he has had so far in his career and this is a special moment that is well deserved for Justin."
Following his time with the 'Clones, the Oshawa, Ontario native went overseas to play two seasons in Finland, followed by a year in the KHL (Russia), before returning to North America to sign an NHL deal with Columbus. Danforth played in AHL-Cleveland for eight games to begin the season, tallying two goals and five points before later receiving the call to join the Blue Jackets.
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