Who won the Ryan Donato-Charlie Coyle trade, Wild or Bruins?
ST. PAUL -- No doubt the best trade of general manager Paul Fenton’s tenure, albeit it is a small sample size, is the savvy move that netted the Minnesota Wild shoot-first winger Ryan Donato.
In fact, since being acquired from the Boston Bruins in exchange for fan favorite Charlie Coyle a month and a half ago, Donato leads all NHL rookies with 16 points (4 goals, 12 assists) in 20 games.
Not bad for a kid playing in the minors when the trade went down.
“It’s a different change of pace,” Donato said in the hours leading up to Thursday’s game between the Wild and the Bruins. “That’s kind of what’s led to me being more comfortable and getting more chances and scoring more points.”
It certainly has helped that Donato is playing big minutes with the Wild. He has been firmly in the top six of the lineup since his arrival, averaging 15 minutes, 35 seconds per game.
“It’s all about opportunity in this league,” Donato said. “If I can get myself into scoring positions playing with the high-end veteran players we have here, that have been known to find guys in scoring positions, then I’m a guy that can bury it.”
Besides making himself comfortable on the ice by scoring at a rapid rate, Donato has started to feel at home off the ice as well.
“It’s different being away from home for the first time,” said Donato, who grew up on the outskirts of Boston and attended Harvard before turning pro. “I loved being the local guy in Boston and being close to home. My mom did, too. It’s just different. This has been a second home for me so far. They have been very welcoming to me, and I can’t say enough how thankful I am for the whole experience so far.”
It has been a much slower build for Coyle over the past month and a half. He has 6 points (2 goals, 4 assists) while playing mostly in the bottom six of the lineup.
“You’ve got to learn everything quick,” Coyle noted. “It’s been a decent number of games now so it’s starting to come natural. It’s kind of got to that point.”
While the trade was nice for Coyle, giving him a chance to return to his hometown, he was sad to leave the Twin Cities behind.
“It happened so fast that I didn’t even get to say bye to everyone,” Coyle said. “Just to see everyone and catch up a little bit (has been fun). It’s obviously kind of a weird thing playing against old friends.”
As soon as Thursday’s game is over, both teams will go their separate ways, with the Wild trudging into the final game of the season and the Bruins gearing up for what they hope is a long postseason run.
“I’m jealous,” Donato said. “I wish I could’ve making a playoff run with this team now. At the same time I’m happy for those guys. They are my friends. I just wish our team was in that same position.”