The NHL’s deadline for clubs to sign restricted free agents to contracts that would allow them to play in the 2022-23 season has now passed. Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet confirmed that there has been no contract signed, meaning Ottawa Senators forward Alex Formenton is now ineligible to play in the rest of this NHL season.
Per Postmedia’s Bruce Garrioch, the Senators have been trying to find a trade for Formenton but were unable to finalize a deal before this deadline passed. Frank Seravalli of Daily Faceoff reported that the Senators’ asking price for Formenton was a second-round pick, and it appears that no team was willing to meet that asking price in order to acquire Formenton before the 4PM CDT deadline.
On paper, Formenton’s restricted free agency once seemed straightforward. After scoring 18 goals and 32 points last year, the speedy 23-year-old forward looked set to either earn a moderate bridge contract or perhaps even be a candidate for a long-term extension.
But Formenton’s status has become unclear due to potentially significant off-ice complications.
Speculation has continued to surface regarding Formenton’s role in the Hockey Canada World Junior 2018 sexual assault investigation, for which he is one of few players to not release a statement denying involvement.
While TSN’s Darren Dreger has reported that the NHL’s investigation is “substantially complete,” the league did not release its findings before today’s deadline, which may have contributed to the Formenton’s uncertain current status.
With the deadline now passed, it seems that Formenton’s only choice regarding his NHL future is to wait until there is more certainty in the matters that NHL clubs are reportedly concerned about. In the meantime, the Senators will retain Formenton’s rights as a restricted free agent.