London Knights get 2 NHL-sized boosts to their lineup with return of Formenton, Bouchard
Anyone who identifies as a fan of the London Knights is no longer feeling the dreariness of the last few days of clouds and rain in the city.
The Ottawa Senators sent a sharp ray of sunshine London’s way when they assigned forward Alex Formenton to the Knights after their game against Buffalo on Thursday night.
First thing Friday morning, the Oilers announced that they were returning Evan Bouchard to London for the remainder of the season.
Both players made their respective NHL teams out of training camp and both wound up scoring their first NHL goals within a week of each other.
Bouchard drilled a half-slapper past Braden Holtby of the Washington Capitals on an Oilers power play on Oct. 27. Formenton tipped home his first NHL goal past Antti Raanta of the Arizona Coyotes in a 5-1 win on Halloween.
It’s now trick-or-treat for the Knights as they add two star players to a lineup that has not lost in regulation in over a week. Bouchard was named captain last year after London made moves toward the future and there is a very good chance he will return to that role when he gets back into the Knights lineup.
“Generally when you have a captain who is coming back that now has NHL experience, you will have him resume that role,” said Knights associate general manager Rob Simpson. “We’re going to discuss that as a group, but that’s what we all assume looking back to the exceptional job that he did as captain last year.”
In the meantime, it will be about Bouchard and Formenton situating themselves in London.
“I think with Alex and Evan specifically, they both had good showings in the NHL. Both set a good precedent for the future for themselves,” added Simpson. “They can look back and say I have put myself on the map and showed they are close to being everyday NHL players. Now they know they can come back to London and continue to develop under Dale [Hunter] and the coaching staff and have their games completely rounded out for next season to stick in the National Hockey League.”
For the Knights, the addition of two veterans in November is rare. Normally you have to give up players and prospects and draft picks in a trade. This is different. London will be able to make use of one of the top defencemen in the Ontario Hockey League last year in Bouchard, a player who posted an 87-point season in 2017-18 and merited consideration for Defenceman of the Year.
In Formenton, the Knights pick up even more speed than they had already. Formenton was a point-per-game player during the regular season last year and then exploded during an opening-round loss in the playoffs against Owen Sound.
He scored five times and added two assists in four games against the Attack.
Neither player will be in the lineup on Friday against the Flint Firebirds due to travel issues but are expected to play on Saturday or Sunday as the Knights hit the road to visit Owen Sound and Kitchener.
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