No longer eligible to play in the NHL this season, Ottawa Senators restricted free agent Alex Formenton has signed a contract with HC Ambri-Piotta, the same club that yesterday added Nick Shore. The deal will only last through the 2022-23 season, and the team release included the following (translated by Google):
The HCAP knows that the player and some of his teammates from Canada’s U20 World Cup winners in 2018 were involved in a criminal investigation which resulted in a decree of abandonment. The investigation was recently reopened following revelations about the Canadian federation’s practice in similar cases.
The HCAP, after discussion with the player, who fully cooperated with all authorities during the investigations carried out by the London Police (Ontario, Canada), the NHL and the Canadian Hockey Federation, and his lawyers, believes that there is no any element not to assert the presumption of innocence against him. Should the new investigation by the Canadian police reveal elements that are currently unknown, the Club and the player have reserved the right to reevaluate their contractual relationship.
Formenton, 23, failed to reach a contract with the Senators before the December 1 deadline, making him ineligible for the rest of the year. The impasse followed a breakout season in which the young forward scored 18 goals and 32 points in 79 games, using his elite skating and long reach to create regular scoring chances for himself and his teammates.
The Senators have never commented on whether the re-opened investigation into an alleged 2018 sexual assault had anything to do with Formenton’s negotiations or lack thereof. Yesterday, Darren Dreger of TSN reported that the league’s investigation into the incident is nearly complete, but there is still an ongoing investigation by the London Police Service, and follow-up that needs to be completed between the NHL and NHLPA before anything is released.
He will remain a restricted free agent and on the Senators’ reserve list unless they choose to leave him unqualified this summer.