How Alex Formenton developed from second-round speedster to one of the best prospects in Ottawa and an AHL All-Star
After his draft year in 2017, Alex Formenton was viewed as a raw prospect with plenty of potential mainly due to his blazing speed. Speed kills in the NHL and the Ottawa Senators took priority in the second-round with the speedy winger from the London Knights.
In the 2017-2018 season, Formenton enjoyed a phenomenal pre-season, showing off flashes of his great speed and competitiveness that caught the eye of then Ottawa Senators head coach Guy Boucher. Appearing in one game versus Detroit, Formenton got the exposure to the big leagues that are rare so early for a second-round pick.
The speedy winger was sent back to junior after the Detroit game and looked to continue his good play with the London Knights. Formenton enjoyed a solid season compiling 29 goals and 48 points in 48 games and adding 5 goals and 7 points in 4 playoff games. The Senators draft pick also made an appearance on the Gold medal-winning Canadian squad at the IIHF World Juniors, where he was instrumental on the penalty kill. Great improvement was shown from Formenton from the year prior, scoring 13 more goals in 17 less games for the Knights.
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Formenton came into the 2018-2019 season with loads of promise after making the Senators roster the year prior the winger looked poised to crack it again. That he did, appearing in 9 games with the Senators, scoring his first career NHL goal versus the Arizona Coyotes.
After the nine game trial, the hopeful winger was sent back to London for the second straight year, the move was anticipated since it was clear Formenton wasn’t ready to be an NHL player yet.
The polarizing prospect battled some injuries which forced him to miss the world juniors and didn’t produce crazy point totals on a talented London Knights team. Playing in only 31 games, Formenton produced only 13 goals and 34 points, which was not much improvement from the year before and had a noticeable dip in goal production.
The Knights assistant captain did enjoy a solid postseason scoring 4 goals and 18 points in 11 games with low goal totals still alarming. The lack of goal production was a slight cause for concern, Formenton enjoyed a 0.66 goal per game pace the season prior, that slipped to 0.40 pace in the 2018-2019 season. While improvement in the playmaking aspect of the game was evident, pundits wanted to see more offensive firepower from the 19-year-old. With a game based on speed goal scoring was usually what stood out in the offence Formenton created.
Heading into the 2019-2020 season the expectations for Formenton weren’t as high as the past year for making the team, especially with a new coach. The speedy winger played entirely in the AHL for a great Belleville Senators squad. Enjoying an exceptional rookie season in the AHL Formenton was an All-Star when he broke out offensively. Scoring the second-most goals on the team with 27 and finishing third in team scoring with 53 points appearing in only 61 games due to the global pandemic known as Covid-19.
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Formenton really turned it on after the new year hit, hitting an all-new level with 14 goals and 31 points in only 30 games. Many thought of Formenton as a high-floor low-ceiling type of player because of his speed being an asset that NHL teams will always welcome on their team. The consistent improvement throughout the season for the All-Star winger has shown to management and fans that his ceiling may be higher than many thought.
Formenton and fellow teammate Josh Norris were the two best rookies in the AHL last season and were difference-makers any time they stepped on the ice. Sens Prospects put together a great highlight pack of Formenton’s sensational rookie season:
Through being a scrawny, raw speedster for the London Knights in his draft year, Formenton has blossomed into a player for Sens fans to keep their eyes on. With the rebuild in full motion in Ottawa, players like Formenton are going to be catalysts for Ottawa in the years to come.