Amidst the mounting black and gold injuries, the Boston Bruins announced that Ryan Donato has signed a two-year entry-level contract.
While the 56th overall second-round pick from the 2014 Draft was already well known to Boston Bruins fans, he reached a national audience at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang a month ago. Leading the US Men’s National Team with five goals and six assists. He will now be eager to test his hand at hockey’s highest level, the NHL.
It has been made clear by the Bruins organization that Donato will be reporting to the big club straight away, most likely making his debut tonight against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
It’s another bonus for the Bruins as Donato has turned down free agency and his senior year at Harvard to sign with his hometown team. Given how well the organization has handled its prospects this year there is no doubt that the Bruins have confidence in Donato. While the cynics amongst you will be thinking that the B’s signed a two-year deal, one of which will be burnt the second he takes the ice donning the spoked B, meaning they essentially dangled the carrot in front of Donato to get him to sign and spurn free agency. It’s a smart move.
Donato has been a revelation at Harvard improving year on year and has earned a Hobey Baker nomination this year. The results of which will be announced on May 24th. Numbers wise, Ryan Donato has been an animal this season. Scoring 43 points in 29 games (26 goals, 17 assists). 2017/18 has been his best points per game average at college. His overall stats are 104 points in 97 games, averaging 1.07 PPG. College numbers always need to be taken with a pinch of salt especially when you consider the hype surrounding Donato’s former teammate Jimmy Vesey who scored 144 points in 128 NCAA games, faring slightly higher with a 1.13PPG but with more games played. Vesey has since struggled at the New York Rangers, with 49 points in 149 NHL games, averaging 0.33 PPG.
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Where Does Donato Fit In The Lineup?
Good question. It’s very easy to get excited about his inclusion into the team, especially with all the injuries. I for one have rewritten this paragraph twice after I gave myself time to calm down. The heart wants to see him get some second line minutes with David Krejci and Rick Nash. I mean is there a more accommodating line in hockey right now? Then the head comes in and says he has not played a single minute in the NHL and will have to earn his keep. That’s when we look at the third line to play alongside Noel Acciari and fellow Olympian Brian Gionta. There’ll be some chemistry on that line that’s for sure.
Going forward I reckon he’ll slot onto the third line when Riley Nash eventually moves back. The third line could be Donato, Riley Nash, Heinen which is an incredibly exciting prospect.