The San Jose Sharks have made several moves this offseason but perhaps the most notable one was the addition of forward Ryan Donato.
Coming to San Jose, Donato will almost certainly get a larger role than he did with the Minnesota Wild. We can expect him to play in the team’s middle-six and he could even be a good fit to play on the wing in the top-six.
Donato scored 14 goals and 23 points in 62 games with the Wild last season, a pace of 19 goals and 30 points per 82 games. For reference, this was the second-highest pace of any forward in the NHL who averaged less than 11 minutes per game (min. 10 games played), behind only Jason Spezza.
He also ranked 81st in the league in 5-on-5 points per 60 minutes (min. 10 GP), finishing with 2.1 points per 60, which had him tied with Patrik Laine and ahead of Ryan O’Reilly, Mark Scheifele and Teuvo Teravainen, among others. On top of that, he was also tied for 10th in the league in goals per 60 minutes (min. 10 GP). Whether he can keep up that pace remains to be seen, however, considering he could likely average up to 16 minutes per game next season if he does play in San Jose’s top-six, we can certainly expect him to post some solid numbers.
He did play against a very low quality of competition with Minnesota last season (according to Hockey Abstract), however, he also wasn’t used in an overly offensive role, with an offensive zone start percentage of just 48.8 per cent. Donato also had a corsi for percentage of 51 per cent last season, which ranked sixth amongst Wild skaters (min. 10 GP). It was also higher than Minnesota’s overall corsi for percentage of 49.6 per cent.
One thing to consider when projecting how Donato may produce, however, is his shooting percentage. Last season, it was nearly 15 per cent, which is likely unsustainable and certainly contributed to his excellent goals per 60 average.
Honestly, Donato is a bit of a wild card, in terms of how he may produce. If he does play on the wing in the Sharks’ top-six, which I believe he should, I think there’s a good chance we see him around 40-45 points next season. If he gets more power play time than he did in Minnesota, perhaps it’s even a higher number.
Regardless, Donato is going to have an excellent opportunity in San Jose and was possibly the team’s best addition of the offseason.
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Here’s today’s poll question (results and discussion will be posted in a future article):
How many points do you expect from Ryan Donato next season?