Boston Bruins: Ryan Donato is ready to light up the NHL

BOSTON, MA - FEBRUARY 01: Ryan Donato
BOSTON, MA - FEBRUARY 01: Ryan Donato /

Boston Bruins top prospect Ryan Donato looks poised to make a big impact at the NHL level.

As of now, the Boston Bruins 2014 Draft Class, is shaping up to be one of the best they’ve ever had.

The class features names like David Pastrnak (1st round), Danton Heinen (4th round), Anders Bjork (5th round) and Emil Johanssen (7th round) with the final name being Harvard forward Ryan Donato, a second round pick.

Now Donato is no slouch to the spotlight. The American center is in his Junior year at Harvard University where in 29 games he’s scored 43 points. Donato is also in the running for the NCAA’s annual Hobey Baker Award for College Hockey’s best player that season.

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His biggest accomplishment so far?

Representing the United States in the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea. During the tournament, Donato was easily the USA’s best player, scoring 6 points in 5 games for the United States in an NHL-less Olympics.

Now if Donato is as good as I’m saying he is, why hasn’t he been called up yet? The reason being that the Bruins have played there season out like this, ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’. Along the way, however, and especially of late, the Bruins have been hampered by injuries.  Recently, despite not missing their stride, the Bruins have taken big losses such as Jake DeBrusk, Heinen and (the straw that broke the camels back) David Backes, it’s time for the 21-year-old to make the next step.

Donato comes out guns blazing

In his debut game with the big club, Donato showcased why he’s gonna be an awesome player for the Boston Bruins.

Donato started off his career like he was strapped to a rocket, Donato would pick up his first career NHL goal just 6 minutes into the second period. 10 minutes later Donato would again be on the score sheet, assisting Riley Nash. Later in the third period Donato would assist his linemate David Krejci in front of the net to tie it up for the Bruins. The B’s would later lose in Overtime duw to some scandalous officiating. Donato however, came just as advertised.

Charting 19:40 of ice time in his 3-point debut, He had more TOI than 1st liner Pastrnak, 14:54 of it coming in even strength and almost 5 minutes of that coming on the powerplay. Playing like he was a veteran, Donato had no trouble fitting into the Boston Bruins scheme.

Donato’s stellar skills

Sliding onto the second line with Krejci and Heinen truly showcased the skills and finesse this line possesses. Despite being a bigger bodied forward, Donato doesn’t specialize in the board game. As far as NHL comparisons, Donato is an American version of Evgeni Malkin, with the ability to score when he wants with a stellar shot and skills, while also having the good vision to set up other teammates despite a shoot first mentality.

It looks like Donato will stay in the lineup for the foreseeable future, but he might take a dip in ice time in favor of a more experienced guy like Rick Nash. Another serious concern would be consistency. Anyone can ride a hot streak, but keeping it up for the rest of the season and the playoffs will be key. For a rookie, this can be especially difficult.

Next: The Bruins were robbed of a victory

Donato looks to keep up his pace of hot play and help lead the Boston Bruins lead towards a Stanley Cup Playoff push.