Toward the end of the 2017-2018 season, Bruins prized prospect Ryan Donato fulfilled his dream. The highly regarded Harvard product made his NHL debut last season for the Bruins, appearing in twelve games. In those twelve games he showed all the skills that have NHL scouts high on the Massachusetts native. Next season will be a big test for the young center as he will experience the grind of a full NHL season. If Donato can continue to play like he did during his first NHL stint, then next year could be a big season for the Harvard product.

The Rise of Ryan Donato

Donato played on team USA in the 2018 Winter Olympics and showcased his skills. He displayed elite scoring ability as he tallied six points, including five goals, in five games. He showed excellent hockey instinct and poise beyond his age. Donato impressed his teammates and the USA coach, Tony Granato, who raved about the maturity of the  young center. When asked about Donato, Granato said, “He’s grown up in NHL locker rooms, he’s seen everything about it. He gets it.”

After the Olympics, Donato continued to impressive at Harvard amid a stellar season. When the Bruins were hit with the injury bug Donato’s play forced the Bruins to give the Massachusetts native a chance. Donato finally got is opportunity when Rick Nash went down with a lower body injury.

Ryan Donato

Photo Credit: Matt West

Injuries Force the Bruins Hand

Donato made his NHL debut on March 19th against the Columbus Blue Jackets, and made it one to be remembered. The Harvard product did not look like a rookie as he had a goal and two assists. Donato was impressive on the power play as he stood in front of the net with no fear. On the man advantage Donato had two goals and two assists in twelve games. The Harvard product finished the regular season with five goals and four assists, justifying the hype surrounding him.

Ryan Donato

Photo Credit: Sports Field

Expectations for Ryan Donato in Year Two

In the playoffs Donato did not see much ice time as he only played in three of the Bruins’ twelve games. That will motivate the young center next season. Donato will possibly play on the Bruins second or third line, depending on the offseason moves the Bruins make. The expectations next year will be higher as he gains more NHL experience. Donato has the skill set and maturity to be a very productive NHL player and proved last year that he is ready. He will be a threat on the power play due to his hockey instinct. Over twelve games Donato showed his offensive potential leaving fans imagining what he can do over the course of a full season.