Sharks' Ryan Donato focused on improving defense in San Jose next year

Brodie Brazil
·2 min read

Donato focused on improving his defense with the Sharks originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

Ryan Donato scored 14 goals in 62 games last season with the Minnesota Wild.

It wouldn’t be a surprise to anyone if he could soon eclipse the 20-marker milestone in a full slate with the Sharks. That’s likely what San Jose saw in trading for him.

But the forward’s immediate focus in teal will be evolving defensively.

“I don’t even know if it’s adding it, I know I can do it,” Donato said to NBC Sports California. “Learning things defensively comes with experience. And I want those experiences so that I can make myself a 200-foot player every night. Make myself just as good in the defensive end as I can be in the offensive end.”

The Sharks will be Donato’s third team in a little more than two seasons.

“Coming in there, I want to prove that,” Donato said about his defense. “And let other people know it’s not just my own confidence, I want to prove I can do it to other people too.”

As for continuing to build on his offensive touch, there is no specific preference on how he lights the lamp.

“I don’t care -- long as it’s going in the net, I’m happy,” Donato joked.

But eventually the details emerged.

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“Probably the most satisfying is a one-timer, or a breakaway,” Donato said. “One-timer, because you’re picking your spot and it’s off your stick before the goalie has time to react. Feels good to be the guy with the quick stick.”

“Breakaways because it’s you vs. the goalie, and that’s it. Only one guy can win the battle.”

Donato recently revealed on Twitter that he’ll be wearing No. 16 in teal this season to honor his childhood hero, Brett Hull. It’s the same number he wore in high school and college, but never yet professionally.