On Sunday the Boston Bruins announced that they had signed 21 year old prospect Ryan Donato to a two-year entry level contract. The centerman from Harvard was selected 56th overall by the Bruins in the 2014 National Hockey League Entry Draft. Donato just wrapped up his junior season at Harvard University, where he tallied 43 points (26 goals, 17 assists) in 29 games played. Now, Donato has his sights set on the NHL.
Donato, signed to a two-year entry-level contract, will join the #NHLBruins and be eligible to play in tomorrow night's game vs. the Columbus Blue Jackets at TD Garden.
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) March 18, 2018
Boston Bruins Sign Prospect Ryan Donato to ELC
Donato is eligible to be in the Bruins lineup for Monday night’s match-up against the Columbus Blue Jackets. He will be playing on the left wing alongside Noel Acciari and Brian Gionta. He will also be getting some time on the power-play unit according to head coach Bruce Cassidy.
#NHLBruins coach Bruce Cassidy confirms that Ryan Donato will play on the left wing tonight alongside Noel Acciari and Brian Gionta. Will also see some power play time.
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) March 19, 2018
The 21-year-old just recently represented Team USA at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang. In the tournament, Donato played in all five of Team USA’s games, and was tied for most goals in the tournament (five tallies in five games) and was the highest scoring American player with six points. Donato led Harvard in scoring as a junior (43 points) in 2017-18. His 26 goals marked him in 4th place in NCAA. Last season, Donato was named the NCAA Ivy League Player of the Year after helping lead Harvard to an ECAC Championship and also to a berth in the NCAA Frozen Four. That season, Donato tallied 21 goals and 19 assists for 40 total points in 36 games played. This year, Donato was selected as one of ten Hobey Baker finalists (awarded to best collegiate ice hockey player).
Ben Kerr wrote the following on Donato in his college signings preview. “The son of Ted Donato has a hard and accurate wrist shot, with a very quick and deceptive release. He knows how to find open space and gets himself open in the offensive zone. Donato is also not afraid to work on the boards or in front of the not. He brings a strong work ethic in all three zones.”
Front Office Thoughts
Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney had this to say regarding Ryan Donato and the signing: “It came together in pretty short order. We had always been committed to providing the opportunity to Ryan if and when he decided to leave school…I think it was an opportunity on both sides to explore with Ryan and see where he’s at. He’s a kid that’s got a confidence about himself, a talent level, and he’s got some details he’s gonna have to work on – all young players do. But he’s a player that has hard skill. We’re looking forward to having him…get immersed and get a taste.” (Via Boston Bruins Twitter)
“I am excited to announce that today I have fulfilled a lifelong dream, signing a NHL contract to play for the Boston Bruins,” Donato said in an interview with Harvard’s website. “While I am beyond thrilled for this next opportunity, it comes with a bittersweet feeling, as my time as a student-athlete at Harvard comes to a close. I am so thankful for every day I have spent at Harvard and the remarkable people I have met along the way, from the classroom, to the ice, and beyond. It has truly been a privilege to wear the Harvard jersey and represent my school alongside such incredible teammates and coaches. My time in the Harvard Hockey program has provided me with some of my closest friends and fondest memories, and I will strive to continue representing Harvard well from afar as I enter this next stage of my life. While no longer on campus, I am so proud to consider myself a member of the greater Harvard community, and I am still fully dedicated to working towards another lifelong dream of mine: a degree from the university that has given me the best three years of my life.” (Via NHL.com)
Donato will be in the lineup on Monday against the Blue Jackets. Monday marks his NHL debut, one that is, of course, very exciting for both Donato and the Bruins.
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