The Seattle Kraken took a chance on young streaky forward Ryan Donato as a late free-agent signing.
Contract: 1 year remaining at $750k AAV
2020-21 Season Stats: 50GP: 6G, 14A, 20P, -10
Ryan Donato has shown flashes of performing at a high level while a part of the Boston Bruins, Minnesota Wild, and San Jose Sharks. In his short career, he has bounced around a bit. He has proven that he has far beyond graduated from the AHL, as both stints he combined for 17 points in 21 games.
Donato will have competition, as previous signings have given the Kraken lots of options to bolster their depth. He has proven he can crack the lineup and stick around for a full season in the past two seasons; now he just has to prove he is worth keeping around in Seattle. Donato will most likely be fighting for a bottom-six spot with Morgan Geekie, Riley Sheahan, and Marcus Johansson.
In a great low-risk, high-reward signing by the Kraken, they hope that his start with them bodes as well as his first looks with the previous teams he’s played for.
Of the three teams Donato has played for, his performance to start each has been nothing less than amazing. Given the fact that he hasn’t been inserted near the top of the lineup, the points he has produced and his play shows just what he is capable of in the right situation. He matches up nicely against the opposing bottom-six, and that’s where he would do best to jump in and contribute the most as a member of the Kraken.
Good First Impression
Donato broke into the league with the Bruins and immediately lit it up, recording five goals and nine points in just 12 games after finishing his season at Harvard University. He impressed enough to earn him three games in the postseason that year. In 2018-19, he split time between the Bruins and the AHL club. That season didn’t match up very well with his stint to end the previous year, scoring the same amount of points in 34 games.
Donato was dealt that season and ended up playing for both the Iowa Wild of the AHL and the Minnesota Wild. Again, he performed very well, recording 16 points in 22 games. But, the next season went similar to his second in Boston, downhill from there.
There may be a light that goes off in Donato that allows him to perform at a very high level to impress his new team. A comfortability or laziness could also creep in the next season after his initial outburst, which causes him to slow down the production from the previous season. The Kraken hope for the high level of play that they know Donato can play up to and hope he doesn’t slow down because his upside is great if those stretches of brilliance can turn into everyday play.