First Oklahoman born and raised to play in the NHL
Matt grew up playing in Oklahoma City's youth hockey program where he attended Edmond North High School until the age of 16. He then moved to Dallas, Texas to play for the Dallas Jr. Stars Midget Major AAA program for one year. There, he attended Coppell High School for his sophomore year. After that year, Matt was drafted in the first round of the USHL Entry Draft by the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders. Matt attended John F Kennedy High School in Cedar Rapids, Iowa for his Junior and Senior years of high school while playing for the RoughRiders. As a RoughRider, he was named to the USHL All-Rookie Team in his first season (2007–08), and the league's First All-Star Team in the following season.
After Matt's first season in the USHL, he was drafted by the New York Islanders in the 4th Round (96th overall) of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, making him the first player ever drafted that was born and raised from the state of Oklahoma.
Matt made his University of Denver debut on October 9, 2009, and completed his first season as a Pioneer with 7 goals and 14 assists for a total of 21 points in 36 games to lead all WCHA defenseman in goals. For his efforts he was rewarded by being named to the College Hockey Freshman All-American team, All-College Hockey News Rookie Team, and All-WCHA Rookie Team.
During his Freshman season at DU, Matt was selected to represent USA in the World Junior Championships in Saskatoon, Canada at the end of December. There, he helped Team USA capture a Gold Medal, beating Canada in an overtime thriller in the championship game.
Upon completing his sophomore season at the University of Denver, he was quickly signed to a professional contract by the Islanders, who assigned him to play for their AHL affiliate, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. Donovan scored a goal and four assists during the final six games of the 2010-2011 AHL season. For the 2012-2013, Donovan tied Justin Schultz for the most points among AHL defensemen with 48.
Matt made his NHL debut on April 3, 2012, against the New Jersey Devils, making him the first Oklahoman born, raised, and trained in the state to play in the NHL. After making the Islanders' roster to start the 2013-2014 season he scored his first NHL goal on October 8, 2013, against the Phoenix Coyotes, Matt then played the next full season with the Islanders.
After becoming a free agent after the 2014-2015 season, the Buffalo Sabres signed Donovan to a one-year contract.
After making the Sabres out of training camp in 2015-2016, he was then sent to the Sabres' AHL affiliate, the Rochester Americans, Donovan left the NHL as a free agent to sign a one-year contract abroad with Frölunda HC of the Swedish Hockey League (SHL), on July 21, 2016. He then signed another one-year contract with the same team for the 2017-2018 season.
In 2018, Matt returned to America and signed in Milwaukee for Nashville's AHL Affiliate, the Milwaukee Admirals. Shortly into a one year contract, Nashville inked Matt to a contract extending through the 2019-2020 season. After leading points among defensemen in Milwaukee, Matt was chosen to take part in the AHL All Star Game in Springfield, MA. In February, Matt was rewarded by being called up to play a few games for the Preds.