Colorado Avalanche winger Joonas Donskoi has been a good addition to the team — so far, better than expected.
The Colorado Avalanche picked up winger Joonas Donskoi as a depth scorer over the summer. They signed him as a free agent after he’d spent his entire four-year career with the San Jose Sharks.
The expectation was that Donskoi would be a mainstay of the third line, or maybe make appearances on the second. I believe he was also meant to be a foundation of the second power play unit.
Yet, here we are in the fifth week of the season. The Colorado Avalanche have been decimated by injuries. And Donskoi is stepping up in ways I don’t believe anyone expected.
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And he’s exceeding his expectations.
Except for his sophomore season, Donskoi has pretty consistently been a 30+ point scorer. His career year was his last with San Jose — 37 points (14 goals, 23 assists).
Joonas already has 11 points on the year, having played all 17 games. If he keeps up that pace, he could have 53 points across a whole 82-game season.
Even if he doesn’t accumulate quite that many points, he’s still served in more important roles than we expected of him. He may have started on the third line, but he was quickly promoted to the second line.
And with Colorado’s two star wingers out, he’s been skating on the first line. He’s also on the first power play unit.
Donskoi is accumulating the ice time that goes with his increased role. Previously, his career-high was 14:58 average per game. Right now, he’s at 16:48 — the last five games he’s been near the 20 minute mark every night.
He also recorded his first career hat trick in the wild game against the Nashville Predators.
Joonas Donskoi didn’t record any points against the Columbus Blue Jackets. However, that was his 300th NHL game. As noted, most of those games came with the San Jose Sharks.
However, the Colorado Avalanche signed Donskoi to a four-year contract over the summer. So, he should at least match his time with the Sharks in burgundy and blue.
Ultimately, the Avalanche went out to acquire some secondary scoring help. As always, they like to find that player who was a bad fit with another team but who’s going to be a good fit here in Colorado.
At least for now, it appears they’ve found that reclamation project in Donskoi. And it’s working for all parties involved.