The Seattle Kraken announced on Wednesday that they have re-signed forward Ryan Donato to a one-year, $1.2 million contract.
Donato finished 4th in goal scoring on the Kraken in 2021-22, setting a career-high with 16 tallies. Fans were rightfully surprised to see him not receive a qualifying offer earlier this month, rendering him an unrestricted free agent. General manager Ron Francis told reporters the reason for that was to avoid arbitration with Donato and maintained that he could still be back with the club this coming season.
Ryan Donato wasn't given qualifying offer after a career-high 16 goal season.— Mike Benton (@Benton_Mike) July 13, 2022
GM Ron Francis: "Helluva season last year. Being honest, we just didn't want to go to arbitration with him. That's why didn't qualify him. We certainly like the player."
Talks are still ongoing.
“Ryan elevated his game last season and we’re happy to have him return to the Kraken,” said Francis. “He completed a career year and will hopefully eclipse that in 2022-23.”
The fan reaction at the time of what appeared to be the end of the Donato era in Seattle was quite passionate, with many fans wondering why a goal-scoring winger was leaving a team that desperately needs goal-scoring.
Donato better be back!— Steve Ludwig (@stevejludwig) July 12, 2022
Would it help if I bought a Donato sweater or ten?— berrsey (@berrsey) July 12, 2022
No Donato? WTF?— LetsGoKraken (@GeeClauson) July 12, 2022
literally why are we not extending donato— ken¹³ (@PINKPARADISIN) July 12, 2022
why are the kraken not re-signing donato when i specifically asked them to do the opposite https://t.co/qg0JvRBTBY— Jolleen (@Jolleen0) July 12, 2022
Donato will have to work even harder to earn his ice time this year, now that the Kraken have added wingers André Burakovksy and Oliver Bjorkstrand to go along with Jordan Eberle and Jaden Schwartz. Jared McCann will likely get more looks on the wing as well should both rookies Matty Beniers and Shane Wright stay at the center position along with Yanni Gourde. It’s suddenly a much tougher lineup to crack into, but Donato has the soft hands to make the cut.
Welcome back Donnie!