13. Alex Formenton (Reader Rank: 10, Last Year: 10)
Though 2018-19 may not have been the year that he was expecting for himself, Alex Formenton still finds himself coming in at #13 on this year’s list.
The 47th overall pick played nine games with the Ottawa Senators to start this past season, making the team out of training camp for the second straight year. He missed time with a concussion suffered against the Philadelphia Flyers, but went on to score his first NHL goal against the Arizona Coyotes. This was ultimately his only point, and he was returned to the London Knights of the OHL for the remainder of the season in November.
Showcasing his already NHL-calibre speed, it was at the World Junior Selection camp, in an exhibition game against university players, that Formenton suffered a knee injury, causing him to miss significant time. Formenton was a lock for Team Canada at the time and missing the high profile tournament must have been difficult for the young speedster.
In case you needed a reminder of just what the speed looks like:
Despite the setback, the 20 year-old came back even stronger, and finished the OHL regular season with 34 points in 31 game. Impressive as that is coming off of an injury, it was in the playoffs that Formenton took off. In London’s run to Game 7 of the second round, he posted 18 points in 11 games, cementing his place as one of the world’s top junior players in the process.
His three-spot drop down the list makes sense, given that he missed a good portion of the season, but it’s safe to assume that Alex Formenton will be in the NHL conversation this season. He may just be the fastest player in Ottawa’s prospect pool, and his playmaking ability in London was evident.
With that in mind, the main reason for his return to junior was his inability to contribute on the NHL scoreboard. Formenton’s skating and offensive instincts had him in the right places, but he didn’t show off the finishing skills needed to beat goalies at the highest level. If he wants to play in Ottawa for more than just a handful of games this year, that’s the next step that he will need to take.
Formenton starting the season in Belleville is probably the likeliest scenario, and it will give him a chance to refine the more advanced aspects of his game, before making the jump to the nation’s capital.
With five more appearances on our list, if all goes right, it’s safe to assume that Alex Formenton will be a fixture on the upper-end for years to come.