Bruins Alumni: Happy Birthday Ryan Donato

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

By: Max Mainville | Check me out on Twitter @tkdmaxbjj

Happy 24th Birthday to Former Boston Bruins Forward Ryan Donato!!

Ryan Donato was born on April 9th, 1996 in Boston, Massachusetts to former NHLer Ted Donato. Donato began his young hockey career with Dexter School in Massachusetts as a 16-year-old, scoring 14-22-36 numbers in 26 games played in the 2011-12 season. The forward spent numerous seasons in the USPHL as well as the USHL, putting up point-per-game seasons on multiple occasions.

Donato’s success in the United States hockey leagues led to the Boston Bruins selecting him 56th overall (2nd Round) in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, the same draft that Bruins superstar David Pastrnak was drafted in the first round. Instead of joining the Bruins immediately, Ryan Donato made the decision to join the Harvard Crimson, following in his father’s footsteps who played 106 career games with Harvard University and later went on to be the Head Coach of the hockey team in which he is still the Coach to this day.

In Ryan’s first season back in 2015-16, he scored 13 goals and eight assists for 21 points in 32 games that year as well as four points in seven games at the 2016 U-20 World Junior Championships, winning a bronze medal with Team USA. Donato’s true skill was showcased in the following 2016-2017 campaign where he posted 21-19-40 numbers in 36 games and the one-uped that again with 26-17-43 totals in only 29 games that led all Harvard players in the 2017-18 season.

After three seasons in the NCAA, Ryan Donato finished with 60-44-104 numbers in 97 games played. Donato was named the Ivy-League Player of the Year in 2016-17 after helping bring Harvard to an ECAC Championship and a berth in the Frozen Four. In his final season, he was also named one of the ten finalists for the Hobey Baker Award, awarded to the best collegiate player of the year.

In 2018, Donato represented the United States in the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, where he scored five goals and six points before being eliminated by the Czech Republic in the quarterfinals. That same year, Donato agreed to a two-year entry-level contract by the Bruins, officially beginning his NHL career. The young forward made an immediate impact, scoring three points including his first career NHL goal in his debut against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Having joined the Bruins late in the season, the 6-foot, 181-pound forward played in only twelve regular-season games in the NHL, scoring five goals and four assists for nine points. Donato went pointless in three playoff games that postseason as well. A lot of pressure was placed on Donato in the 2018-19 season as it was his first full season in the league and his promising performance to end the year before gave hope to Boston fans.

Donato was moved all around the Bruins organization, playing 34 games with the Boston Bruins as well as 18 games in the American Hockey League with the Providence Bruins. This up-and-down process went on until February 20th, 2019, when the Bruins traded Ryan Donato to the Minnesota Wild along with a conditional 2019 5th Round Pick in exchange for forward Charlie Coyle, who has since become a staple on the Bruins’ bottom-six.

Now with something more to prove, Donato played decent with the Wild to finish the ’18/’19 season, putting up 4-12-16 numbers in 22 games. Again, having the chance for a full season in the current 2019-2020 campaign, Donato scored fourteen goals and nine assists for 23 points in 62 games before the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in the NHL going on pause.

At 24-years-old, Ryan Donato has one year remaining after this season on a $1.9 million contract with Minnesota. Happy Birthday, Ryan Donato!

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