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Alex Formenton of the Knights lands in Ottawa

The London Knights defeat the Peterborough Petes 6-3 during an Ontario Hockey League regular season game on October 7, 2016 in London, Ont. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Mark Spowart.
The London Knights defeat the Peterborough Petes 6-3 during an Ontario Hockey League regular season game on October 7, 2016 in London, Ont. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Mark Spowart.

In just a little over a year, Alex Formenton’s life has begun to match his legs. He has always been extremely fast on skates, but at the age of 15, his hockey career felt like it was slowing down.

He had all the skill that anyone could want in a player, but he was simply too small.

Not 5’9 small, either.

Try 5’5. Maybe 5’6.

The London Knights selected Formenton in the 11th round of the 2015 OHL Priority Selection, taking a chance that he might grow.

That chance paid off for the Knights and for the native of King City.

The word diminutive began to disappear from the Formenton description and the skill-set stayed.

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He hit 6’1 as his rookie season in the OHL kicked off and he rocketed onto scout’s radar.

The ascent continued in Chicago at the NHL Entry Draft where he became the 47th pick overall, going to the Ottawa Senators in the second round.

From 216th overall in the OHL, to 47th at the highest level.

You need to be an athlete to make a jump like that.

Formenton proved that at the 2017 Top Prospects Game in Quebec City, when he won the skills competition and then showed well the next night when Team Chery and Team Orr collided.

Formenton was the only 11th-round pick on the ice, out there with players who had been taken first, second or third overall in their respective league drafts.

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Mark Edwards of Hockeyprospect.com was impressed enough to look back at what had been written about Formenton before his growth spurt.

“We had said if he grows, he could be a real sleeper. His feet are amazing. He’s a fantastic skater. For me. It is a question as to whether he has a top-six upside because he didn’t get a ton of ice (as a rookie). That would be my only question.”

It is still one that needs to be answered, but now that Formenton is a part of the Senators’ organization, he will get a whole lot of opportunity. From development camps to rookie camp to a far more prominent role on the Knights in 2017-18, he will be able to grow his game toward whatever ceiling might exist.

Right now, no one can say for sure where that might be.

One thing is for certain. The what-if factor is officially gone.

Alex Formenton has moved on to “What’s next?”