Why Boston Gave Up on Ryan Donato so Early

The Boston Bruins have finally made the trade many fans were clamoring for, acquiring Charlie Coyle from the Minnesota Wild in exchange for Ryan Donato and a conditional fifth-round draft pick.

Donato has been a huge hope for the Bruins fans just a year ago. Not everyone has been pleased with Donato and Boston parting ways, but it might make the Bruins better.

General Manager Don Sweeney gave up a draft pick and player in the minors for a 26-year-old center, who has played 479 games in the NHL. That definitely seems like an upgrade for Boston. Coyle has collected 242 points throughout those 479 games with the Wild. He can play both as a right-winger and a center, which suits the Bruins well. Used as a center, Massachusetts native can make the Bruins bottom-six instantly better.

However, one main question still remains. Why the Bruins gave up so early on Ryan Donato? A year before, Donato was starring for the Team USA at the Olympics and afterward, he signed with Boston. Donato made his NHL debut past March at TD Garden against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Bruins fans were truly thrilled with that move and even more when Donato scored a goal and an assist that night.

In the very next game, in St. Louis against the Blues, Donato added another tally. In his 12 games with the Bruins during the past season, Donato recorded nine points. In the playoffs, he dressed up just in three games and didn’t record any point. That was the first message sent by Head Coach Bruce Cassidy. Cassidy didn’t trust Donato enough, which was more than obvious.

Notwithstanding, at the start of the present campaign, Cassidy offered Donato his chance to shine, but the 22-year-old forward failed to accomplish that. In his first 11 games this season, Donato scored just one goal and no other points. The Bruins sent him down to Providence. After they called him back a month later, Donato appeared to be in much better shape. In his first game back, he scored a shootout winner versus the Islanders at TD Garden.

Despite his improved play, points haven’t come as expected. Donato was demoted again before the All-Star break, concluding his season in Boston with six goals and three assists over 34 games disputed. He was a -11. Not to dwell on the +/- stats, but Donato’s defensive play was certainly questioned throughout his time in Boston.

Management knew that he has a lot of potential on offense. On the other side, his off-the-puck play started to bother. The Bruins are the third best defensive team in the League. It’s quite clear why a player like Donato, with his struggles, was never going to be a sure bet for Bruce Cassidy. That’s also one of the reasons why, for example, Danton Heinen remained in the lineup even with his offensive woes.

Ryan Donato was scouted by the Wild for quite some time. They should be happy what they received, as should the Bruins.

Frank Vatrano has scored 20 goals this season with the Panthers, but the Bruins should not regret trading him last season. Now the same should be said about Donato. The Bruins maybe gave up on Donato quicker as they did with Vatrano, but it is what it is. Boston needed a boost. You have to give in order to get.

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