No. 19: Alex Formenton (Reader rank: 21, Last year: N/A)
Far from a household name amongst Senators fans, Alex Formenton’s first ranking in the Top 25 Under 25 is actually rather high.
It’s not undeserved, but I feel like he isn’t a name that the average fan would know. The London Knights winger was drafted 47th overall in the 2017 draft, and with that second round label, he’ll certainly get more attention and pressure than later picks.
The thing with Formenton is, it doesn’t look like he is a player with a very high ceiling. That doesn’t mean he can’t be an NHL player, but he probably shouldn’t be treated like other top blue-chip forward prospects. Instead, if he ends up making the Senators in a few seasons, it will most likely be in a Ryan Dzingel-type role.
And if that is the outcome for his career, the organization will take that every single day.
The good news is, he has a decent chance to become that kind of player. I found this graph really interesting regarding his production:
His offensive production is a mix of first, second, and third line levels, but a 26.02% chance (according to this model) of playing 200+ NHL games are solid odds. His talent for getting shots and high danger shots certainly bodes well for the future in terms of picking up more points.
Formenton didn’t have great point totals last season with just 34 in 65 games, but he did play on the Knights who are a notoriously stacked junior team. He ended the season eleventh amongst Knights forwards in points per game, which just shows the ridiculous amount of depth the team had.
It is reasonable to expect that with an increased role and more ice time, more points will come. Having said that, I wouldn’t expect him to all of a sudden notch 80-90 points next season in the OHL.
Brad Phillips of Dobber Prospects noted that he has grown from 5’5” to 6’1” over the past two seasons, although he is still listed at 161 lbs. Other prospects will inevitably have similar growth spurts like this, but they all respond differently. There is a chance that Formenton grows into his body and adds some muscle while maintaining his speed, making him a potential menace.
It seems unlikely that all of that would happen, but one can dream.
If there’s one thing to be really excited about with Formenton, it’s his speed. Corey Pronman called him the best skater in the draft, and with the league shifting to a faster pace game, it can’t hurt to have more speed in the lineup. Just see for yourself the kind of speed this kid has:
An example of Formenton's (OTT) speed. pic.twitter.com/WVRxANzNRB— Corey Pronman (@coreypronman) June 24, 2017
Another interesting tidbit I found is the comparison with his Knights teammate Cliff Pu. Pu was drafted in 2016, and had only 31 points in 63 games. This past season he lead the team with 86 in 63 though, suggesting Formenton’s final two seasons could also be more productive.
Pu is not the same kind of player, but it shows that Knights prospects need to be looked at a bit differently just because of how far down the pecking order their rookies can be.
I’m not as interested by Formenton as I was with our old friend and former 2nd round pick Jonathan Dahlen, but I am quite intrigued to see how he can do in his Draft +1 season in London. For all we know, by this time next year his offensive ceiling could be viewed as much higher.