Free Agent Profile: Joonas Donskoi

Forward Joonas Donskoi is one of the most underrated defensive forwards in the NHL. (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images North America)

Our last free agent profile focused on Richard Panik, who’s someone that is not regarded as a top guy in this class. However, as the profile explained, he’s still worth someone paying. Another example of this type of player is San Jose Sharks forward, Joonas Donskoi. He is an extremely talented player who has not been given the chance to showcase his talents fully.

The Statistics

The 27-year-old Finnish right wing anchored what was the Sharks’ fourth line last season. But it will quickly become apparent that Donskoi possesses the skill to be much more than that. In 80 games this season, he tallied 37 points (14G, 23A) while only playing 13 minutes a night. The year before, Donskoi scored 32 points in 66 games while only playing 14 minutes a night. The trend throughout his four-year career has been a lot of production in a limited amount of ice time.

Related: Free Agent Profile: Richard Panik

This idea of a lot of production is also evident in Donskoi’s advanced statistics. He owns a career Corsi For % (CF%) of 54.0%, which is well above league average. His career Relative Corsi For % (Rel CF%) of 2.6% is a great indicator of how the Sharks are a better team while he’s on the ice rather than off. His goals above replacement (GAR) of 11.2 last season places him in the top-50 of qualified forwards league-wide, which is very impressive for a guy that only played 13 minutes a night.

This RAPM chart is courtesy of Evolving-Hockey.com and includes the past three years.

As mentioned above, scoring is something Donskoi does relatively well, but he’s even better on defense. He served a valuable role on the Sharks’ penalty kill the past few seasons and this comes as no surprise. Just one look at his defensive indicators shows this. Above is a chart that shows his effects on his team in certain areas, with the latter two bars being two key defensive indicators. You can see how great of an effect Donskoi has on his team in these areas. All-in-all, he’s a great defensive forward with high offensive upside.

The Contract

The great thing about Donskoi is how underrated he is., which means the contract he will receive will be relatively cheap. As mentioned in previous posts, @EvolvingWild does a great job projecting future contracts. For Donskoi, they project a three-year term at an annual salary of $2,847,521. This is a great length and salary for a guy that is great defensively and has a nice scoring touch. A contract similar to the one projected would be the definition of a “value signing.”

Conclusion

Donskoi projects as a solid third-line right wing who brings a load of defense. Given more playing time it would not be surprising if he settles in as a mid-40 to 50-point scorer. If this is the case, he can easily crack the Devils’ top-six if need be. There are not going to be a lot of options like Donskoi in this market, so he needs to be near the top of the Devils’ targets. No matter where he lands, it’ll be interesting to see the type of production he puts up with more playing time.

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2 comments on “Free Agent Profile: Joonas Donskoi”

  1. eugene j massaro Reply

    still better option than most on this team , he , like palms , is buried on the bottom on a stacked team , seems to be a good 2 way player who skates very well …

  2. Brad K Reply

    I’m a huge fan of Donskoi and would absolutely love to land him but that 3 years, sub $3 Million projection is a bit light. He’s going to get anywhere from $4 to $5 Million. I did a projection for the Devils and signed him for 5 years/$25 Million. I think that would come out as a great deal with him joining a line with Hughes and Bratt. Really hope we land Donskoi. Easily my top free agent target for the Devils.

    Yes, I know we need LD help and top 4 D help but it’s simply not there this offseason. Don’t force it. Let this thing develop organically.

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