Image Courtesy of Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images
By: Aaron Chisling Follow me on Twitter at @achisling
On a Boston Bruins team that is getting league-wide recognition regarding it’s Stanley Cup contender status. Many have marveled at Boston’s ability to manage their core of playoff-proven players in Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, David Krejci, David Backes and Zdeno Chara with unproven rookie phenoms like Danton Heinen, Jake DeBrusk, Sean Kuraly and Charlie McAvoy. Don Sweeney and Bruce Cassidy have cooked up a successful recipe it seems. Most would assume that based on this influx of youth that the Bruins are enjoying that their cupboard of prospects would be bare of upcoming, high-end talent. Boy, are they wrong.
Ryan Donato, son of Ted Donato who spent nine seasons with the Boston Bruins and played for Team USA in the 1992 Olympic Winter Games, was selected by the Bruins in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft. He was selected in the 2nd round and 56th overall. He projected to be a long-term project, and it seems that the Bruins Brass’ patience will bear fruit. He looked outstanding at the 2017/2018 Bruins Development Camp. His performance at camp was right on par with Anders Bjork, if not better at times. He returned to Harvard where Teddy Donato is the Head Coach. He’s been scoring at a torrid pace, playing 23 games on the season while tallying 21 goals and 10 assists, with 1.35 points per game average. Each year he’s played with the Crimson, he’s had a definite improvement in his production. Take a look at the marked improvement each year below.
Statistics courtesy of Collegehockeynews.com
In addition to skyrocketing up the Bruins prospect rankings, Donato has attracted some international competitive attention this year. With Gary Bettman and the NHL’s Board of Governors electing to forego Olympic participation during the Pyeongchang Games, Team USA was forced to dip into the non-NHL-contracted player pool to assemble its roster. Ryan Donato was named to the team and has played a prominent role thus far. He’s been put on a line with 2017 WJC shootout hero Troy Terry and former NHL player Mark Arcobello. The trio has already developed some impressive chemistry and will be relied upon to do much of Team USA’s damage on the scoreboard. Last night’s close victory over Slovakia was a demonstration of just that. Check out this filthy goal which was Donato’s second of the night and the eventual game-winning goal.
If Team USA is to overcome the adversity and challenge ahead of them and eventually medal, Bruins prospect Ryan Donato will have a significant part in the performance. How crazy would it be to win Olympic Gold and potentially a Stanley Cup in the same season? It’s unlikely, but it’s looking more and more possible every day that the Bruins continue on the path that they’re on right now. If Ryan Donato keeps up the pace he’s at, Boston Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney will have no choice but to make a spot for him. Having too many good players is a significant problem to have, and I know Sweeney would feel the same way. Ryan Donato and Team USA face the Olympic Athletes from Russia at 7:10 AM ET on Saturday. I’ll be watching. You should know too.
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