Update: per Cap Friendly, the term for Joonas Donskoi is four years and carries an AAV cap hit of $3.9 million
The Colorado Avalanche made a fairly large splash leading up to free agency, when they acquired forward Andre Burakovsky from the Washington Capitals to shore up their offensive depth a bit.
They continued to add to that scoring depth on July 1st, though, with reports that the team is finalizing a way to bring on a free agent in the form of a three-year deal for former Sharks winger Joonas Donskoi.
Per Andy Strickland, the deal is expected to be in the range of a $3.5 million annual average.
Joonas Donskoi will be signing with the Colorado Avalanche. In the 3 yr $3.5M range. #Avs— Andy Strickland (@andystrickland) July 1, 2019
Although he was drafted 99th overall by the Florida Panthers in 2010, Donskoi was never signed to an entry-level deal by the Panthers and never joined the organization in any capacity.
Instead, he played junior hockey in Oulu, Finland for the Kärpät organization, graduating to their Liiga club in his draft season and becoming one of the team’s most popular players during a six-season Finnish pro career. He racked up 60 goals and 156 points in 271 career games for Kärpät between 2009 and 2015, attracting the attention of the Sharks and earning himself a free agent deal to come over to North America at long last.
Donskoi has been with the Sharks ever since, serving as a versatile winger who floats through the team’s lines and provides solid middle six scoring. He’s managed to hit 14 goals in each of the last two years, amassing a collective 45 goals and 122 points in 283 career NHL games so far. He’s not an overly strong defensive player, but does bring a valuable commodity in being one of the league’s cleanest players and an excellent penalty drawer:
Joonas Donskoi (3x3.5m with Colorado, or so) is an excellent play driver with a good shot and a very strong penalty differential. What a steal. pic.twitter.com/7PTe9sTsoo— Micah Blake McCurdy (@IneffectiveMath) July 1, 2019
Off the ice, Donskoi has become a fan favorite in San Jose, engaging with fans and bringing a sunny disposition to the Bay Area during his four seasons with the Sharks. He’ll likely bring the same kind of off-ice presence to Colorado, where he’ll find an old friend in Mikko Rantanen.