BOSTON (CBS/AP) — The Boston Bruins have signed Ryan Donato to a two-year, entry-level deal and say the U.S. Olympic star could play for them right away.
Donato had 26 goals and 17 assists in 29 games this season at Harvard. He led the United States with five goals and six points at the Olympics as one of its youngest players.
The 21-year-old is eligible to be in Boston’s lineup Monday night against the Columbus Blue Jackets, a big boost to a Stanley Cup contender down the stretch.
Donato was a second-round pick for Boston in 2014, and the team retained his rights while he played for his father, Ted Donato, a former Bruin who has been the coach at Harvard since 2004. The Boston native said at the Olympics it was always a dream for him to play in the NHL and for the Bruins, but he didn’t want to make any declarations about his future, which could soon include playoff action.
“At the end of the day I want to graduate as well,” Donato said after the U.S. was eliminated at the Olympics. “We’ll see what the future holds.”
Asked if he thought his son was NHL-ready, Ted Donato said, “There are so many factors involved in being NHL-ready, one certainly would be the opportunity presented yourself and the right timing.” That timing was obviously right after Harvard did not make the NCAA Tournament and the Bruins got him signed.
General Manager Don Sweeney said the signing provides an opportunity for “both sides to explore with Ryan and see where he’s at.”
“He’s a kid that’s got a confidence about himself, a talent level, and he’s got some details he’s gonna have to work on – all young players do. But he’s a player that has hard skill,” Sweeney said, via the team. “We’re looking forward to having him…get immersed and get a taste.”
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)