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Islanders Sign Denver's Matt Donovan to Entry Level Deal

They say his stick is its own light source.
They say his stick is its own light source.

Begun, the Matt Donovan Era has:

The New York Islanders announced today that defenseman Matt Donovan has agreed to terms on an entry-level contract. Donovan will report to the Islanders' American Hockey League affiliate, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, to play out the remainder of the 2010-11 season on an Amateur Tryout Contract (ATO). His entry-level contract will commence in the upcoming 2011-12 season.

Donovan, 20, led all University of Denver defensemen in scoring this season with a career-best 32 points (nine goals, 23 assists) as a sophomore. The Edmond, Okla., native completed his two-year NCAA career with 53 points (16 goals, 37 assists) in 78 games.

Okay, he's not as hyped as what would normally elicit an overused Jedi reference, but still...

[Post updated below with various this, that and what-nots]


Donovan has impressed pretty much every fan and pundit who's watched him both at NCAA Denver and in junior competition on that 2010 WJC gold medal squad. He's a good puck mover who appears to think the game quite well. (And, not for nothing, with the Islanders defense injury riddled and raiding the Sound Tigers for reinforcements, Bridgeport could use the help.)

I think some fans hoped this might happen, but no one was sure with just two years of college completed. So add another promising young blueliner to the organizational mix for 2011-12, where Donovan will join Calvin de Haan and Aaron Ness as full-time members of the party.

From the Denver Post:

"We wish Matt continued success in professional hockey," DU head coach George Gwozdecky said in a statement. "Matt was a very dynamic defenseman who helped us win a lot of games in two seasons."

Donovan becomes the sixth Pioneer to leave after his sophomore season to sign a professional contract, following Paul Stastny (Colorado, 2006), Brock Trotter (Montreal, 2008), Tyler Bozak (Toronto, 2009), Joe Colborne (Boston, 2010), and Patrick Weircioch (Ottawa, 2010).

Here's hoping he becomes at least the second-most impressive member of that list.

From Michael Fornabaio of the Conn. Post, on the impact at Bridgeport and other notes:

Donovan won’t join the team in Portland, though. Who will: another lefty defenseman, Matt Campanale from the Philly area via the University of New Hampshire, and forward Chris Barton, who for the past three years has been the second-leading scorer at Merrimack; he was the third-leading scorer in his freshman season. (The past two years, he has only been behind Stephane Da Costa, the French native who’s the premier college free agent this spring.)

So that’s 10 players on amateur tryouts. The first one who plays tonight becomes the 300th regular-season player in team history. When they all play, they’ll make 59 players this year, not counting Petizian. What a year.

Fifty-nine bodies. Wow.

Also from Denver, this before the news broke is a small reflection of how Donovan's early departure is a hit to Denver's plans.