SAN JOSE, Calif. – I was absolutely baffled when the San Jose Sharks let Joonas Donskoi go on the open market last summer. To me, I saw a guy who had size, some skill and really good wheels. I saw him as an unheralded but important player on some San Jose Sharks teams that advanced deep into the playoffs when he was there.
Not that I’m some talent scout expert, because Joe Sakic obviously thought the same thing when he and the Avalanche quickly snapped him up as a free agent last July 1, signing him to a four-year, $15.6 million contract. How has it worked out for the Avs since?
The smile on Donskoi’s face (above) answers most of that question. The 27-year-old Finnish right winger scored the game-winning goal in his first game back to San Jose. What looked to be just an insurance goal for the Avs was needed, when the Sharks cut a two-goal deficit in half with under a minute remaining in Sunday’s game here at a half-empty Shark Tank.