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Where does Ryan Donato fit in the lineup?

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Lots of great expectations to be had, but where will he best fall in for the team?

NHL.com

So! Ryan Donato’s a Boston Bruin now! And like a real-real Bruin and not “signed to the big club then going to Providence the next day!” real! That’s pretty fun!

But now we ask the question...where will he play?

First, let’s just look at the lineup Boston iced on Saturday night:

Marchand - Backes (who is now out) - Pastrnak

Heinen - Krejci - Rick Nash

Wingels - Riley Nash - Gionta

Schaller - Kuraly - Acciari

Already, I can see him doing very well for himself as a member of Krejci’s line as 2nd LW. Heinen is doing fine, but I think he does a lot better when he’s playing with Riley Nash, and while we all like Tommy Wingels, and he has been playing well, I think we can agree letting the youth sort out the rest of the season would be best for the long-term.

so with that said, here’s what it’d look like while Jake DeBrusk is still on the mend (and Backes):

Scenario 1: Donato playing on Monday night as a top 6 forward

Marchand - Riley - Pastrnak

Donato - Krejci - Rick

Heinen - Wingels - Gionta

Schaller - Kuraly - Acciari

But wait! you say, from the front of the room, in my face, to the point where I can tell you didn’t floss. Jake DeBrusk will probably be coming back soon! As will Patrice Bergeron! What will happen then?

Honestly? kick another old guy off the roster. They were depth for a reason and they’re more than aware of that. If guys get tired, rotate in Donato and if he’s struggling, get someone back in.

With that in mind, this is where we should be regarding the lineup:

Scenario 2: Donato; Middle six forward

Marchand- Bergeron - Pastrnak

DeBrusk - Krejci - Rick

Donato- Riley - Heinen

Schaller - Kuraly - Acciari

Heinen has been able to do RW duty in his junior/college days, and has played a little RW in Boston’s pro system, so he should be fine there. Nash can help keep him honest with defensive responsibility and just enough scoring push to give him some primo chances.

But, finally, the big...long term question comes into play. If the Bruins, god help them, find a way to get all their big names back...where will he play then?

Well, why not the 4th line? They haven’t been a bad line at all, but they can always make some improvements. A hard-hitting line with a bit of scoring touch? I think fans could easily get behind that.

Scenario 3: Donato earns his keep on the 4th line

Marchand- Bergeron - Pastrnak

DeBrusk - Krejci - Rick

Heinen - Riley - Backes

Schaller/Donato - Kuraly/Donato - Acciari

———

Don Sweeney said to the media today that Donato will earn his minutes for his new team, and that there isn’t much pressure for him to be anywhere but on the team. And for right now that sounds like the best thing for the kid. Of course, they do need a guy right now as the team is still pretty beat up, but it’s best for practice and Bruce Cassidy to figure out where he’s best suited.

But from my point of view, Donato fits in perfectly as a Middle six winger, only made better by fellow rookies and veteran leadership that inundate lines 2 and 3. He’ll do well there, and for the forseeable future if he performs beyond even our wild expectations.

Poll

Role should Ryan Donato take on the Boston Bruins?

This poll is closed

  • 15%
    Top Six!
    (144 votes)
  • 55%
    Middle Six!
    (528 votes)
  • 15%
    Bottom six!
    (146 votes)
  • 4%
    4th Liner!
    (38 votes)
  • 9%
    Depth in case somebody gets hurt!
    (87 votes)
943 votes total Vote Now