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Preview/Lines #29: Donato Returns to San Jose with Chip on His Shoulder



Ryan Donato, San Jose Sharks
Credit: NHL

“I don’t know. You could tell me.”

That was Ryan Donato’s response when asked why it didn’t quite work out in his short stop in San Jose last season.

“I did the same things every night that I wanted to do to help us win,” he added. “It just didn’t work out. It’s a good question.”

Now, Donato can seek out revenge tonight when the San Jose Sharks host the Seattle Kraken for the first time ever at SAP Center.

“When you’re playing against both friends and teammates, there’s always a little extra jump,” Donato said. “There’s just always whenever you’re going to be playing against a team you played for, you’re going to have a little bit more jam. I think I can see myself having that tonight.”

After moving on from the San Jose Sharks, Donato signed a one-year deal with the Kraken in September as one of the team’s late additions before training camp.

“I’ve loved his competitiveness,” Seattle Kraken head coach Dave Hakstol said. “Anything we’ve asked Ryan, he’s worked extremely hard at producing, so any role that he’s been in, whether it’s been a defensive situation or whether it’s been in power play situation, and everything in between, I’ve really liked the way he has dug in, grinded out and worked every day.”

The former second-round pick of the Boston Bruins has five goals and 10 points in 24 games this season. The 25-year-old forward has earned most of his ice time on the fourth line and in select roles on the power play and penalty kill.

“Ryan is a good hockey player,” San Jose Sharks head coach Bob Boughner said. “We wanted to try as best as we could to build a team that was going to play with pace, and certain guys fall in that and certain guys don’t.”

Boughner also suggested at the end of last season: “I think it’s the other part of the game that he struggles with from time to time.”

Exit Interview: Boughner on What Went Right, Wrong for Sharks

It appears Donato will skate on a line alongside former San Jose Sharks Joonas Donskoi and Alexander True.

“It means a lot. It’s always fun to come back here,” said Donskoi, who has yet to score with his new team, but has tallied 13 assists in 27 games. “A lot of good memories. Cup Finals. We had some good teams that were able to be successful.”

True was selected by the Seattle Kraken in the expansion draft from the San Jose Sharks. After collecting 18 points in 22 games with the Charlotte Checkers, True made his season debut with the Kraken last game against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

“I really like his game,” Donskoi said. “He’s a big guy who works hard. He’s good defensively. I think he’s a super-balanced player and I like him as a center. I’m excited to keep going with him.”

San Jose Sharks (15-12-1)

Forward Jayden Halbgewachs will have to wait to make his NHL debut. Reimer starts in goal.

Seattle Kraken (9-15-3)

Three former Sharks look to skate together on the fourth line for the Kraken:

Where to Watch

Puck drop against Seattle is 7:30 PM PT at SAP Center. Watch it live on NBC Sports California and ESPN+. Listen to it on the Sharks Audio Network.

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