2008-09: Joonas Donskoi played for Karpat in the U-20 SM-Liiga. In 32 games, Donskoi scored 7 goals with 17 assists and 12 PIM.
2009-10: Donskoi split time between Karpat’s U-20 junior squad and the SM-Liiga team. Donskoi scored 2 goals with 2 assists and was -2 averaging less than 10 minutes of ice time per game in 18 games at the SM-Liiga level. He held his own against older players but did not play in any playoff games. In 18 junior games, Donskoi scored 14 goals with 15 assists and 2 PIM. He was outstnding in the U-20 playoffs, scoring 5 goals with 10 assists in 12 games with 4 PIM. Donskoi played for Finland at the U-18 WJC on a line with Mikael Granlund (MIN) and former Karpat teammate Teemu Pulkkinen (DET) and had 1 goal and 7 assists in six games. Donskoi was selected by Avangard Omsk in the first round (13th overall) of the 2010 KHL (RUS) Draft.
2010-11: Donskoi was one of the top rookie forwards in Finland’s SM-Liiga as an 18-year-old and represented Finland at the 2011 World Junior U-20 championship. In 52 games with Karpat Oulu he was second on the team with 16 goals and had 11 assists while finishing with a +7 plus/minus. Seven of Donskoi’s 16 goals were scored on the power play. He scored one goal, a game-winner, in Karpat’s three-game playoff series with Espoo Blues.
2011-12: Donskoi was a part of a balanced scoring attack for Karpat in his second SM-Liiga season and was an assistant captain for the Finland U20 team at the 2012 World Junior Championship. He scored 8 goals with 17 assists and had an even plus/minus with 12 penalty minutes in 52 regular season games. Karpat finished seventh in the regular season, sweeping TPS Turku in the preliminary round before falling to Pelicans in a seven-game quarterfinal series. Donskoi played in six of nine playoff games and had six points (3 goals, 3 assists), one point behind team leader Jozef Stumpel. Skating on a line with prospects Joel Armia (Buffalo) and Mikko Salomaki (Nashville) at the WJC, he scored 2 goals with 3 assists and was +1 with no penalties in seven games. Finland finished fourth in the tournament, falling 4-0 to Canada in the bronze medal game. Donskoi was not signed by Florida, re-entering the 2012 NHL Draft and becoming an unrestricted free agent after he was not selected.
2012-13: Donskoi was limited to 31 regular season games for Karpat in his third SM-Liiga season — suffering a scary injury after an open ice hit against HIFK Helsinki in January. He scored 4 goals with 10 assists and was +6 with 8 penalties during the regular season. Karpat finished seventh, falling to 10th-place Lukko Rauma in a best-of-three preliminary round series. Donskoi had 1 assist and was -2 with 2 penalty minutes in three playoff games.
2013-14: Donskoi had a bounce back year for Karpat Oulu — finishing third on the team in scoring behind veterans Ivan Huml and Ben Maxwell and being named to the Finland national team for the first time for one of the Europe Trophy tournament series. After finishing first in the regular season in the re-christened Liiga, Karpat fell behind Tappara three games to one in the Kanada Cup finals before winning three straight games. Donskoi scored 4 goals with 2 assists and was +4 with 6 penalty minutes in 16 playoff games. He had no points nor penalties in three games for the Finland national team.
2014-15: Donskoi led Karpat Oulu in scoring in his fifth Liiga season and played for Finland in the Europe Trophy tournament and in the 2015 World Championship. He scored 19 goals with 30 assists and was +13 with 10 penalty minutes in 58 regular season games. Karpat won 40 of 60 regular seasons to finish first in the regular season and defeated Tappara in seven games in the finals for the second straight year. Donskoi scored 6 goals with 16 assists and was +15 with 6 penalty minutes in 19 playoff games. After scoring 2 goals with 1 assist in four Europe Trophy games for Finland he was the team’s third-leading scorer at the World Championship behind veteran Jussi Jokinen and Karpat teammate Joonas Kemppainen. Donskoi led fifth-place Finland with 5 goals and had 3 assists, finishing +4 with no penalties in eight games. He scored a two-year entry-level contract with San Jose in May 2015.
Donskoi is a skilled, two-way forward whose game is predicated on making plays and making the players around him better. Donskoi is not shy about competing for the puck and plays an intelligent game but is not overly combative. Rather, he uses his skating ability and stick handling and passing skills to create pressure on opponents. Drafted by the Panthers in 2010 but never signed, the 23-year-old has played in over 300 Liiga games (including playoffs) so he has more experience than most prospects.
Donskoi impressed both in the Finland domestic league with champion Karpat Oulu in 2014-15 and skating for the national team at the 2015 World Championship and summarily received a two-year entry-level contract with the Sharks. Highly-regarded as a junior prospect when he was a fourth-round selection by the Panthers in the 2010 NHL Draft, he showed a scoring side to go with his solid positional play in his fifth Liiga season. While he may not score as frequently in North America, his skating ability and two-way play suggests some NHL potential.