Welcome back to Top Shelf Prospects, the daily column that brings you the next crop of professional hockey players. Each day I will bring you a new player profile or topical article in the lead-up to the 2014 NHL Draft. Be sure to bookmark the site, follow me on Twitter, and spread the word for the site that will bring you analytical and critical profiles and scouting reports! Last Word On Sports is your new headquarters for everything “NHL Draft”! For a Complete Listing of all our 2014 Draft Articles Click here.
Today we bring you a draft prospect who is getting a ton of buzz across the internet, and seems to be a favorite of various scouting services, Ryan Donato. Now here at Last Word, we aren’t going to B.S. you. The reality is that Donato played hockey in the United States High School system for Dexter. He also played some games with the Cape Cod Whalers midget team. These are two undercovered leagues. While he did play four games with the US NTDP, we don’t have video of those games. While we did see him at the USA Hockey Top prospects game I never make a scouting report based on a single game, its unfair to the player. As a result, I have not seen enough full game footage of this player, and am not ranking him. However because LWOS strives to bring you the reader full draft coverage, we are going to quote what other sources have said about him and direct you to more quality pieces on Donato. In this way you can trust that we will always bring you the straight goods (as we see them) on any prospect we cover, but will also strive to not leave our readers completely out of the loop when it comes to high ranking NHL Prospects. For this reason Donato is the first of our honourable mentions (not ranked by me, but by who is getting top 2 round draft buzz that I’ve noticed, and how much buzz was noticed).
Ryan Donato comes from great bloodlines as he is the son of former NHLer Ted Donato. He is committed to playing NCAA hockey at Harvard next season, but was also drafted by the Rimouski Oceanic of the QMJHL, should he change his mind and decide to go the junior hockey route.
Centre — Shoots Right
Born April 9, 1996 — Scituate, MA, USA
Height 6.0 Weight 176 lbs [183cm / 80Kg]
My short notes from the USA Top Prospects game. This is not a scouting report, but the start of something I would combine with other observations over multiple games:
“Great release, and good wrist shot…. gets himself open and finds the holes, good decisions with the puck, Hockey IQ appears high…. good defensively, keeps his feet moving at all times…. nice vision and passing, picked up 2 assists…. dangerous nearly every shift…. solid work in all three zones…. shows grit and willingness to engage in board battles in all three zones. Solid skating stride and good speed, but not blistering.”
From Kirk Luedeke at New England Hockey Journal:
“Not as explosive a skater as his father was when he played, (Ryan) Donato more than compensates with his better size, excellent hands, top hockey IQ and nonstop motor/hustle. His anticipation and energy allow him to stay a step of the play, and he’s already dazzled scouts with highlight-reel goals and passes this season to build on an already impressive body of work at the prep level.”
From Dan Donato, Ryan’s uncle and his coach at Dexter via ESPN:
“He expects himself to do great things every time he’s on the ice, that’s the sign of a great player. I’ve been really fortunate to have coached three players that have gone on to the NHL, but in some ways, Ryan’s on another planet. I truly believe his best hockey is ahead of him.”
A short excerpt from the Future Considerations Draft Guide (rank 32)… a great resource available for purchase by going here.
“A solid two-way performer. (Ryan Donato) showed some good speed to the outside, with the ability to beat a defenseman to the net. Masterful at taking the puck outside, and with a quick first couple of steps, goes around the net, turns and generates a quality chance on the other side. He shows off some quick hands and the ability to control the puck in tight spaces.”
From NHL Central Scouting’s David Gregory via NHL.com:
“Ryan has unreal hockey sense and is really good with the puck. He plays in all situations and is one of those skilled offensive guys with good size. He can play physical in traffic and not be dominated.”
From Eldon MacDonald at The Hockey Writers who ranks Donato at 37. Chris Ralph ranks Donato at 49
“Offense – Elusive skating, velvet hands, elite vision combined with drive, energy and determination. Bottom line – elite scorer. What he lacks in top line speed he makes up for in mobility and agility.
Defense – Two way player who doesn’t give up, 200 foot player, 5 on 5, PK, PP.”
A short excerpt from McKeen’s Draft Guide (Rank 38)… a great resource you can purchase by going here.
“(Ryan Donato) possess strong vision with the puck however can be prone at times to playing individualistic game .. skating lacks an explosive element but he has tremendous balance and is extremely agile .. flashed his skills including his lightning quick release in a stand out performance at the All American Top Prospects game.. wields a very hard and heavy shot that can sting a goalie and produce a juicy rebound .. a tad under-sized and needs to focus on his consistency away from the puck especially below his own blue line .. played a ton of minutes this season and even though competitors focused in on him constantly he still managed to produce alarming numbers and single handily took his team to semi-finals of the Small School Championships.”
Click Here for a video of Ryan Donato Scoring an incredible goal via First Scout TV
Check back tomorrow for another NHL Draft Prospect Report.
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