The media outlet Swiss Hockey News reported on Tuesday that Washington Capitals prospect Damien Riat will be attending the Capitals upcoming development camp scheduled to commence this coming Monday. The story also stated that Riat, a 6’-0” right-handed winger, is scheduled to participate in the Capitals traning camp this fall. (The Capitals have yet to release the final roster for this year’s development camp).
So why is Riat potentially participating in Capitals camps this summer newsworthy? You may recall that Riat did not attend last year’s camps, and his future status with the Capitals was somewhat uncertain.
Riat, 22, a 4th round selection by the Capitals in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, was believed to be tracking for a spot on the Capitals AHL affillitate Hershey Bears for the 2018-2019 season. Then it was announced on February 2nd, 2018, that Riat would be leaving his current team, Geneva-Servette in the Swiss League, and that he had signed a new two-year deal with EHC Biel-Bienne, also in the Swiss League:
— EHC Biel-Bienne (@ehcbiel) February 2, 2018
The story continued to get muddied a bit last summer when the Capitals development camp took place. Riat, who has attended previous Capitals development camps, did not attend last year’s development camp, and did not participate in the Capitals training camp last fall.
The hockey web site “Swiss Habs” reported on May 4th, 2018, that the Capitals were okay with Riat spending the next two years in Europe. It also included mention that Riat would be attending the September training camp for the Capitals, but that never happened. The article also reported that Riat’s out clause did not allow him to cancel his contract to play in the AHL. The Capitals never made any official statement regarding the status of Riat.
Regardless of how we got to this point, it looks like Riat is set to rejoin his fellow Capitals prospects this summer, starting with development camp next week (if reports out of Switzerland are indeed true). With the Capitals currently rather shallow in forward prospect depth, Riat would be a welcomed addition to the mix.
Riat has one year remaining on his current deal with EHC Biel-Bienne, so any jump from Europe to North America would likely occur in the summer of 2020.
By Jon Sorensen
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