Number five on our list is 19-year-old forward, Alex Formenton. Drafted by Ottawa in the second round of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, Formenton has spent the last three seasons playing for the OHL’s London Knights. While his 2018-19 campaign was plagued by injuries, he still notched 13 goals and 21 assists in 31 games. In the postseason, his production took off as he tallied 4 goals and 14 assists in 11 games.
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The first year of Formenton’s 2017 entry-level contract will take effect this season. The former second-round pick aims to crack the Ottawa Senators’ opening night roster. This will be his third training camp in a Senators uniform. Last season he spent nine games with the NHL club, scoring one goal before being assigned back to the Knights for another season.
Formenton’s biggest strength is his elite speed. He was considered the fastest player in his draft year by several scouts. Dobberprospects’ scout, Brad Phillips, stated that Formenton was, “…probably the fastest player in the 2017 draft possessing elite level wheels capable of beating anyone one-on-one.”
“He’s just a natural skater. Some kids have to work hard. With him, it’s there, it’s effortless. When he’s in camp with us, you’ll notice him right away. He’ll stand out with the speed that he has.” – Senators head scout Trent Mann on Alex Formenton‘Formenton on fast track with Senators‘ – Chris Stevenson, NHL
Alongside Formenton’s speed, he has quick-release shots and great hand-eye coordination. The combination of these tools can be a lethal makeup for an excellent playmaker who poses a threat in the offensive zone.
Areas for Improvement
Unlike many junior players who’re coming up to the NHL, Formenton’s defensive game is not his primary weakness. He was a mainstay on the Knights’ penalty kill. Overall, he’s a good forechecker and is a defensively aware player. Instead, his biggest weaknesses are his size and his inability to finish his scoring chances.
At 6-foot-2, Formenton isn’t a small player, but he still needs to work on filling out his frame if he wants to make the next jump in his pro career. He also needs to work on finishing the chances that he creates. At times he can blow by the opposing defence, but then fails to capitalize on the space he opens up for himself. The training he does this summer will be a big factor if he’s aiming to crack the Senators’ opening night lineup.
Projection and NHL Comparison
Formenton projects to be a playmaking, middle-six winger who can take advantage of his elite speed to either create scoring chances or to quickly forecheck opposing players and catch them off-guard. If he can work on his finishing abilities, he could grow into a similar player to Rangers’ forward, Chris Kreider.
Expected NHL Debut
Formenton has already shown that he can put his abilities together at the junior level, but he still has room to grow before making the jump to the NHL level.
“It’s the first step towards the start up (of training camp) in September and I want to make this team for the full year. It starts now.” – Alex Formenton on the Senators’ 2019 development camp‘From newbie to veteran: Batherson and Formenton trying to show the way to the NHL,’ Ottawa Citizen, 06/27/2019
While Formenton has his sights set on cracking the Senators’ NHL club this season, it seems more likely that he’ll play for the Belleville Senators to start the season. He will most likely have stints in the NHL if there are injuries on the Ottawa roster. However, he isn’t too far away from a full-time NHL role and should be ready to achieve one with the Senators by next season.
NHL Ready: 2020-21
International History Graduate from Carleton University. Ottawa Senators writer for The Hockey Writers. Founder of The Senstennial.