PHILADELPHIA – Bruins scouting types had indicated prior to the 2014 NHL Draft that they were going to select Ryan Donato with their pick in the second round if he was available, and that’s exactly what happened on Saturday at the Wells Fargo Center.
The 6-foot, 174-pound Donato was taken with the 56th overall choice after an outstanding career playing for his uncle at the Dexter School. He's the son of Ted Donato, who started and finished a 12-year NHL career with the Bruins before taking over head coaching duties at his alma mater, Harvard University.
Ryan Donato was understandably excited.
"It's surreal . . . a dream come true. I'm still shaking right now,” said the younger Donato, who has the same upbeat personality as his father. “I’m really, really, really excited. I have no words to explain it right now.”
Donato is coming off a dominant prep season at Dexter, where he scored 37 goals and had 78 points in 30 games, and then participated in a US-National Under 18 tournament in Finland that similarly impressed scouts. He said he’s still deciding between sticking at the Dexter School, playing for the USHL Lancers, or potentially jumping in at Harvard next season.
He’s described by scouts as a hard-working, intelligent, skilled center who can finish plays around the net, and needs to only work on his skating speed as he readies to play for his dad at Harvard in the next couple of years.
Here’s what one scout said to CSNNE.com about Donato a couple of weeks ago: “The pros are: offensive ability, puck skills, a good stick and hockey sense. If he gets the puck down low it’s going to end up under the bar. I would say goal-scoring, but it’s hard to tell at a level like the Dexter School. Hopefully he can sustain the offense when he gets to the higher levels. The only problem I have with him is that he doesn’t work hard all the time. It’s not a big issue, but so much of every good hockey player’s success is based off hard work. He reminds me a little of Paul Stastny. Sometimes you watch him and the whole package is there, and sometimes he looks a little slow out on the ice.”
Based on his father Ted’s long, accomplished NHL career and the zeal that Donato showed immediately upon being drafted, the work ethic thing shouldn’t be much of an issue for the 18-year-old lifelong Bruins fan.