Ramblings: Power, Thompson, Dahlin, Quinn, and Buffalo’s Future; Ryan Donato’s Season – April 14

Michael Clifford

2022-04-14

There are always some players that every person in the fantasy game has trouble giving up on. They are players that, for one reason or another, capture our attention and it's tough to let it slip. It has surely happened to me, for better and worse. I had a lot of faith in both Tage Thompson and Valeri Nichushkin and, at different points, it appeared those guys may both be out of the league by age-25. (I guess Nichushkin technically was.) My faith was rewarded in those instances. There are also guys like Pavel Zacha and Kailer Yamamoto where I thought they would be scoring stars early in their careers, and while each is a solid NHLer, neither has reached anywhere close to the heights I had envisioned.

So, let's talk about Ryan Donato.

Going back to his days in Boston, his offensive upside was what drew us to him. He had 99 shots on goal in 46 games played, skating just over 13 minutes a night. Landing 9.9 shots per 60 minutes is a lot; back in 2017-18, his first year in the league, that would have put him inside the 90th percentile of shot rates. Those high shot rates have, more or less, persisted his entire career, aside from a small dip in his second year with Minnesota.

What hasn't persisted is anything close to a consistent shooting percentage. Starting with his first year, when he played just 12 games, they are as follows:

  • 20.8%
  • 7.2%
  • 14.7%
  • 5.8%
  • 10.4%

Three seasons in double digits and two seasons under 7.5%. Not a lot of consistency, but it's a wonder what playing largely in a team's bottom-6 does here.

Nevertheless, this season has been very good from him, of sorts. He is scoring 1.13 goals/60 at 5-on-5, just behind names like Jason Robertson, Tyler Bertuzzi, and Troy Terry, and just ahead of names like Patrik Laine, Matt Duchene and Clayton Keller. This has been on a team that is 28th in 5-on-5 scoring in the league. What crushed him is shooting 3.2% on the power play. Not a typo: three-point-two percent on the power play. Even a reasonable 10% would have him on the cusp of a 20-goal season. And his high scoring rate at 5-on-5 isn't driven by percentages, as he's roughly around the 75th percentile in that regard. Any decent PP production has him with a 20-goal campaign and I wonder how we'd be talking about him then.

From Hockey Viz, we get a good idea of