Alex Formenton will not be eligible to play in the National Hockey League this season after he and the Ottawa Senators were unable to reach a contract agreement by Thursday’s 5 p.m. ET deadline. Here’s what you need to know:
- Under current collective bargaining rules, all restricted free agents must sign a contract with an NHL club by 5 PM ET on December 1. If they do not sign a contract, they will be deemed ineligible to play in an NHL game for the remainder of the season.
- Formenton became the first restricted free agents to miss an entire NHL season since Jesse Polijärvi and Julius Honka failed to reconcile with their clubs by the December 1, 2019 deadline. Both players missed the 2019-20 NHL season.
- The Senators will retain the rights to Forminton’s contract and he is eligible to return for the 2023-24 NHL season, provided he signs a new contract.
Negotiations between Formenton and the senators were silent for several months, and neither side disclosed details of the situation. In his most recent comment on the negotiations with Formenton on November 7, Senators general manager Pierre Dorion said, “I think both parties know we have a schedule on December 1st. From there, there’s nothing more to report.”
Earlier this week, Formenton agent Wade Arnott did not respond to an email request from the athlete To evaluate his client’s negotiations.
Formenton, 23, scored 18 goals in 79 games for Ottawa in 2021-22, his first full NHL season. Formenton also led all NHL players with five goals shortened last season.
Hockey Canada Investigations
Formenton was a member of Canada’s gold medal winning team at the 2018 IIHF World Hockey Championships. There are currently multiple investigations into members of this team after a woman alleged she was sexually assaulted by eight players in a hotel room in London, Ontario, following a Hockey Canada event in June 2018.
London’s police reopened their investigation into the incident, which took place in July. Meanwhile, the NHL launched its own investigation into the matter in May in a statement, “We will endeavor to determine the underlying facts and, to the extent that may involve players now in the NHL, to determine appropriate actions, if necessary.”
In September, Pierre Lebrun endured a lengthy interview with Dorion prior to the regular season. When I asked LeBron Dorion if the investigations had an impact on Formenton, she didn’t sign.
“With all due respect, I think those are two very different things,” Dorion said. “One is the contract and the other is the Hockey Canada case and I cannot comment until the NHL investigation is complete.”
What is the future of Forminton?
Formenton is free to sign a professional contract outside the NHL, with Europe being a potential option for him to play this season. Puljujarvi and Honka spent the 2019-20 season playing in the Finnish Elite League despite being ineligible for NHL drain.
(Photo: Stephen R Silvani/USA Today)