It seems as though Damien Riat’s time associated with the Washington Capitals could be coming to an end. The Swiss forward has spent this entire season on loan to Lausanne HC, and today the club announced that he has signed an extension.
Riat, 25, is scheduled to become a restricted free agent this summer when his entry-level contract expired. The Capitals could continue to hold his rights by issuing him a qualifying offer, though that would only last until he turns 27 in two years’ time. Given the fact that he already returned to Switzerland after just half a season with the Hershey Bears in 2020-21, it seems more likely that his time in North America is over.
A fourth-round pick of the Capitals in 2016, Riat burst onto the scene with several impressive international performances at the World Juniors, and then was part of the Swiss team that took home a silver medal at the 2018 World Championship. He’s been a strong performer for years in the NL (formerly the NLA), and this season put up 28 points in 35 games for Lausanne.
Last season, after starting the year in Switzerland, Riat came to North America for the first time and registered nine points in 33 games for Hershey. If that turns out to be his only taste of pro hockey on this side of the pond, it will seem like a bit of wasted potential. Perhaps he will revisit the idea in the future, though it is unclear how long this new multi-year contract extends.