The Minnesota Wild play their season opener in 31 days. Until that time we will be counting down the 10 most important Wild players for the upcoming season. Kevin Fiala came in at number 10.
Paul Fenton made a lot of questionable moves during his brief tenure as the Minnesota Wild general manager. Fenton opting to trade Charlie Coyle to the Boston Bruins for Ryan Donato is not one of those questionable decisions.
In 22 games with the Wild, the former second-round pick notched 16 points, scoring four goals, one of those goals was a game-winner against the St. Louis Blues. Donato’s willingness to fire the puck on net was a welcome sight for the Wild, as he fired 64 shots on goal.
Bill Guerin, the new general manager for the Wild had positive things to say about the former second-round pick. In a recent interview with The Athletic’s Michael Russo, Guerin mentioned Donato’s playmaking ability.
"“Ryan just makes plays. … I scouted his Wild debut at Madison Square Garden, and on little sleep, a lot of travel, and he had a huge game. He just makes it happen.”"
Donato signed a two-year contract on July 16 and figures to be paired with Mikko Koivu and Jordan Greenway on the third-line. In Minnesota, Donato will have a defined role and is primed for a breakout season in the State of Hockey. In Ian Tulloch’s top 10 breakout candidates for the 2019-2020 season, the Massachusetts native came in at number six.
"“I’m really excited to see what Donato can do with a full season of top-six minutes. He was one of my favorite players to watch back in Boston despite not getting much of an opportunity to prove himself higher in the lineup. After getting traded to the Wild, we got to see him put up 16 points in 22 games to end the season, giving fans high hopes for 2019-20.”"
Donato is a playmaker and proved that when he arrived in Minnesota via trade last year from Boston. Now, with a clear path for more ice time with the Wild it’s not unreasonable to expect a 50-point season from Donato. If the Wild are going to get back to the postseason this year, the Wild will need Donato to live up to his potential and enjoy a breakout season. It would not be shocking to see him answer the bell with a 20 goals and 25 assists to help the Wild contend for a playoff berth.