The Bruins youth has been responsible for a good portion of the team’s success this season. Guys like Pastrnak, Heinen, and McAvoy have provided plenty of scoring depth in addition to the consistent production from the top line. This has propelled the team all season, and it seems like there’s only more to come. Bruins draft pick Ryan Donato is having a career year at Harvard with 31 points through 23 games. He has proven that he’s ready for the next step. Fresh off a stellar Olympic tournament, it seems that the young phenom might be on Garden ice sooner rather than later.
The Local Prodigy
Ryan has lived every New England hockey player’s dream. He is the son of former Bruin Ted Donato, and grew up right in Scituate. He spent his high school years playing for both Dexter and the Cape Cod Whalers, and even saw some time with the USNTDP team. After putting up 78 points in 30 games as a junior, his hometown Bruins snagged him in the second round of the 2014 draft. Donato finished his high school career with a stat-line of 98-129-227 over 115 games. Do the math and that adds up to 1.97 points per game.
After eight games in the USHL following his senior season, Donato began his collegiate career at Harvard playing for his dad. Ted has served as the Crimson head coach since 2004 and has now coached in over 400 NCAA games. The team reached the Frozen Four for the first time in his career last season, and it’s safe to say that Ryan is what pushed them over the top.
Moving up the Ranks
Donato has 92 points through his first 91 collegiate games and is best known for elite goal scoring prowess. He isn’t the quickest guy out there, but his lethal shot and hockey IQ make him effective in all three zones. What’s really exciting about him is that he’s been able to find immediate success at every level. He got 36 points as a freshman at Dexter, put up ten in his first and only eight games in the USHL, and put up 21 in his first year at Harvard.
He’s handled the increase in skill tremendously at every level and did the same over in Pyeongchang. He was just as advertised- effective in all three zones without sacrificing any offense. His goal scoring ability was first put on display with two beautiful tallies against the Slovaks and continued from there. Donato led Team USA in scoring with five goals and six points through five games. He was one of four collegiate players on the squad.
Much to the delight of Bruins fans, there have even been rumors of him signing immediately after the Olympics. But don’t get too excited, because Harvard could really use him back across the pond. The team is currently standing at 13-10-4 with Donato leading the team in scoring. Due to this his NHL debut may need to wait. There’s no question that Donato should make an immediate impact with the B’s. It’s just a matter of when it’ll happen.
Cover image courtesy of BostonPucks.com.