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Breakdown: Predators sign Matt Donovan to a two-year contract

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The defenseman leads Milwaukee in scoring.

Frolunda Gothenburg v Sparta Prague - Champions Hockey League Final 2017 Photo by Anders Ylander/Ombrello/Getty Images

The Nashville Predators have signed defenseman Matt Donovan to a two-year, two-way contract. Donovan was signed by the Milwaukee Admirals to an AHL contract on June 7th this past summer after two years in the Swedish Elite League with Frolunda HC.

Initially drafted 96th overall by the New York Islanders in 2008, Donovan is tied for 6th in league scoring in the AHL this season with 12 points in 13 games. He is fourth among defenseman in points and second in goals.

Donovan’s signing is not an indication of moves to be made, in my opinion. To me, it’s more of a reward for a hot start and insurance for depth call-ups in the future.

By The Numbers

Donovan’s Career Statistics
eliteprospects.com

The majority of Donovan’s NHL experience came the following season when he appeared in 52 games for the Islanders and scored 16 points becoming the first NHL player born in Oklahoma.

I was digging through some history on Donovan and came across this. I wanted to verify Donovan’s NHL numbers.

2013-14 NYI Defensive Statistics
corsica.hockey

Of the seven defensemen who played 400+ minutes for the Islanders in 2013-14, Donovan had the best possession numbers with a 53.86% Corsi For. He was the second most important defenseman for the Islanders with a 4.75% Relative Corsi For - meaning the Islanders controlled the puck close to 5% more of the time when Donovan was on the ice as opposed to when he wasn’t. Unfortunately, the Islanders also allowed 9.75% more goals when Donovan was on the ice than when he was off it.

After a brief stint in the Sabres organization, Donovan spent two years in Sweden. In his second season, Donovan finished 8th among defensemen in scoring — with NHL prospects Lawrence Pilut (Buffalo) and Joel Persson (Edmonton) leading the list there — and second on Frolunda behind Adam Almquist.

The Eye-Test

Early on in his career, Donovan was billed as a potential power play specialist. He has shown that in Milwaukee with four of his six goals coming on the man-advantage, and - as you can see above plays the rover position well.

Above is another example of Donovan threading a perfect needle on the power play for an excellent score.

Donovan is another excellent addition as a rover in overtime with more open ice. Above, he sets an excellent pick and finds open ice before blasting home the game-winner.

The Contract

Donovan’s contract comes at a cap hit of $675K per season with a year-one NHL salary of 650K and a year-two salary of $700K. His AHL salary will be $162.5K for this season and $200K for next season.

Upon expiry in 2020, Donovan will be an unrestricted free agent.

All statistics are courtesy of eliteprospects.com and corisca.hockey. All contract information is courtesy of capfriendly.com.