By: Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson
Ryan Donato was drafted in the 2nd round 56th overall in the 2014 NHL Draft. At the time he was one of the best High School hockey prospects of the draft class. Some draft experts expected him to land somewhere in the third round of the draft. This led some to believe that Donato was only picked when he was because his father Ted Donato also played for the Boston Bruins. A few years later it’s clear now that Donato was drafted based on his talent and can really be a good player for the Boston Bruins in the near future.
After being drafted, Donato finished out his senior year at Dexter School. He would also serve as team captain for Dexter during this season. In 31 games he netted 18 goals while dishing out 35 assists for a total of 53 points. He really was able to show off his hard shot, and his tenacity around the puck. Something else that Donato displayed was his defensive awareness making him a solid two-way player. After this, Donato also played in 8 games for the Omaha Lancers of the USHL. He potted 5 goals and tallied 5 assists for 10 total points with a +/- rating of –3. He also helped the Lancers in 3 playoff games scoring 1 goal with 0 assists for 1 total point and a rating of –1. Overall it was a successful first season since being drafted for Donato.
After his senior season in High School Donato was bound for the Ivy League where he was committed to play at Harvard University. In his freshman year with the Crimson, he played in 32 games and netted 13 goals while tallying 8 assists for 21 total points and a rating of +4. It was a very good Freshman season for Donato who continued to develop his game and hone his skills. Donato also played for Team USA in the U20 World Junior Championships. He helped Team USA capture the Bronze medal in 7 games he scored 3 goals helped with 1 assist for 4 total points and rating of +4. It was a season that the Bruins were happy to see and one they hoped he would build upon in his Sophomore year.
The 2016-17 season was Donato’s Sophomore year at Harvard, and he improved on his season in a big way. In 36 he netted 21 goals and tallied 19 assists for 40 total points and a rating of +19. Something that really stood out for Donato during this season was his high hockey IQ along with his tenacity around the puck. He also had 5 shots a game for Harvard. This was big because he was involved in so many of their scoring chances. It seemed like whenever he was around the puck, it was going in for the Crimson. It was a fantastic season for Donato, it was around this time that he was taken more seriously as a prospect going forward.
The 2017-18 was an important season for Donato. He and the Bruins both wanted him to take an even bigger step forward than he had last year. He did not disappoint. In 29 games for Harvard, he netted a whopping 26 goals while tallying 17 assists for 43 total points and a rating of +15. Again, Donato’s high hockey IQ and tenacity around the puck took over, and he has a great season. It was so good that Donato landed himself a spot on the Olympic Team for the USA. In 5 games of Olympic play, Donato netted 5 goals while adding 1 assist for 6 total points and a rating of –1. The Bruins were so happy with Donato’s performance that they signed him to a two-year entry-level contract, and he played for the team right away. In 12 games for Boston, he grabbed 5 goals while dishing out 4 assists for 9 total points and a +2 rating. He also played in 3 games for the Bruins during their playoff run. He didn’t tally a point and had a rating of –3. Overall, it was an extremely successful season for Donato to build upon going forward.
Coming into this season, the Bruins expected Donato to be a big part of the team. However, the year started off slow for Ryan. He didn’t get much ice-time and needed to work more on his defensive game. Before being sent down to Providence, he played in 11 games for Boston grabbing 1 goal and 0 assists for 1 total point and a rating of –4. The Bruins sent him down to Providence to hone his game and get more playing time. With the Providence Bruins Donato has been very successful in 10 games he’s netted 5 goals with 4 assists for 9 total points and a rating of –1. Donato seems to have taken the demotion well and is taking what the Bruins wanted to heart. He’s going out there and sharpening his skill while keeping a good attitude. It’s easy for a player to take a demotion personal and their play suffers because of it. This is something that hasn’t happened to Donato.
Ryan Donato since being drafted has proven that he deserved to be drafted where he was. He has great stick-handling ability and vision. Combined with a high hockey IQ and a good work-ethic it makes for a lethal combination. The Bruins were smart to send Donato to Providence to get some seasoning and sharpen his game. One player comparison I have seen is our good friend Patrice Bergeron. Now those are some lofty skates to fill, but with some seasoning in Providence Donato could reach that level. If he does reach his potential the future of the Bruins top lines is as bright as ever.