Arguably the top high school prospect in the upcoming 2019 NHL Draft has changed his college commitment. Ryder Donovan, the star forward for Duluth East High School, announced on his private Instagram account today that he has signed a letter of intent to play for the University of Wisconsin next season. The report has since been confirmed by Fox 21 Sports in Duluth. Donovan was previously committed to the University of North Dakota and had been linked to his hometown University of Minnesota-Duluth, but instead has opted to join a Badgers recruiting class that rivals any in college hockey.
Donovan, a 6’4″, 190-lb. righty, has played both center and right wing in his young career. A well-rounded, two-way power forward, Donovan scored 53 points in 25 games with Duluth East last year, while also spending time with the U.S. National Team Development Program and the USHL’s Dubuque Fighting Saints. While his production is down substantially this year, Donovan continues to draw interest due to his size, speed, and polished game. Many scouts see Donovan as a lock to be selected within the first three rounds of the upcoming draft, with some believing he could sneak into the end of the first round. NHL Central Scouting ranked Donovan at No. 46 among all North American skaters.
Donovan’s addition to the Wisconsin program gives the team three potential 2019 first-round picks and a 2020 potential first-round pick in their class. Donovan is joined by the USNTDP’s Alex Turcotte, a near lock for a top-ten pick this year, and Cole Caufield, one of the best shooters in the class, as 2019-eligible players. Owen Lindmark, another USNTDP product, is considered a mid-round pick as well. Meanwhile, Alberta native Dylan Holloway, not eligible until next year’s draft, is already considered one of the best prospects in the 2020 class. These five elite forwards are joining a team that already features New York Rangers’ 2018 first-round defenseman K’Andre Miller, Arizona Coyotes third-round defenseman Ty Emberson, and undrafted 2016 World Juniors standout forward Sean Dhooghe. The Badgers should be a formidable force in the NCAA next season and beyond.