When the Nashville Predators placed AHL defenseman Matt Donovan on waivers yesterday, it was clear that they had signed him to some sort of NHL contract. That’s the only reason that would have made them send him through the waiver process, but it wasn’t clear what the deal was. Now, CapFriendly reports that Donovan has signed a two-year two-way contract that carries a $675K cap hit at the NHL level.
Donovan, 28, has spent the last two seasons in Sweden playing for Frolunda after finding himself without a contract in the summer of 2016. A fourth-round pick by the New York Islanders in 2008, he played just 67 NHL games with the organization and instead spent most of his time racking up points at the AHL level. An excellent offensive defenseman, Donovan was leading the Milwaukee Admirals in scoring this season after accepting another AHL deal to return to North America, and has now been rewarded for his hard work. The Predators will add him to a stable of offensively-minded defensemen in the organization, and hope that the lessons he learned in Sweden can translate to more consistent play in his own end.
The best part about this deal for the Predators is that Donovan can still be placed in the minor leagues and help the Admirals to AHL success, while being a potential call-up down the line. The team didn’t have a ton of NHL experience among their potential call-ups, meaning any rash of injuries to their NHL group could leave a huge hole on the blue line. There’s no guarantee that Donovan can fill a spot like that adequately, but he does at least have a history of success in several different professional leagues.