11:20am: The deal has been officially announced. Donato will head to San Jose in exchange for a 2021 third-round pick.
10:09am: The Minnesota Wild and San Jose Sharks have been working on several trades over the last week and are closing in on at least one of them. Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic tweets that the two sides will soon announce a trade that will see Ryan Donato head to the Sharks in exchange for a 2021 third-round pick. Devan Dubnyk, who the two sides have also discussed, will be in a separate trade if they can complete it.
Donato, 24, will be heading to the third NHL organization of his young career after previously being traded from the Boston Bruins in 2019. The 2014 second-round pick made one of the most electrifying debuts of the last few years after starring at Harvard and on the Olympic stage, but hasn’t been able to reproduce that magic on a regular basis. In 130 NHL games he has just 57 points and found himself on the fourth line or in the press box on several occasions this season.
That certainly doesn’t mean he won’t take his game to another level in San Jose, but the Wild have clearly made a decision to change the makeup of their forward group. Minnesota GM Bill Guerin has already traded Eric Staal and let Mikko Koivu depart through free agency, acquiring Marcus Johansson and Nick Bjugstad in the process. Donato and his $1.9MM cap hit will head to San Jose for a draft pick, opening up another roster spot for one of the team’s other young forwards.
San Jose of course is looking for ways to rebound after a brutal 2019-20 campaign that saw them score just 180 goals in 70 games. Timo Meier led the club with 49 points and Evander Kane was the only player who could score consistently on the powerplay. Donato will likely have an opportunity to play up in the lineup for the Sharks, who have their own youth movement happening upfront after watching Joe Pavelski leave last offseason. Melker Karlsson and Joe Thornton—two of the team’s three remaining 30-plus forwards—are both unrestricted free agents that could be looking for new homes come Friday.