Report: Damien Riat Allowed To Start 2020-21 Season in Swiss or Swedish Hockey Leagues

According to the ” Journal du Jura “, Washington Capitals prospect Damien Riat is available to play in Europe prior to the opening of the Washington Capitals training camp, currently scheduled to start in mid-November.

According to the report, the Capitals proposed the idea for Riat to start the season in Europe: “It was the Caps who came up with the idea,” the 23-year-old forward told the Journal du Jura. “It’s as much in their interest as it is in mine.”

Riat confirmed that he and his agent are in contact with teams from Switzerland, but also with teams in Sweden. Asked about Biel, he said: “Let’s just say I had a wonderful experience with EHC Biel.”

Riat is a 6’0”, 180-lb right-handed winger, drafted by the Capitals in the 4th round (#117 overall) of the 2016 NHL entry draft. The 23-year-old just finished his fifth season in the NLA (Swiss League), the last two with EHC Biel-Bienne.  The Capitals announced on March 5, 2020 that they had signed forward Damien Riat to a two-year entry level contract for an average annual value of $817,500.

Riat recorded 11 goals and 11 assists in 36 games played last season for EHC Biel-Bienne. He missed the better part of two months when he took a puck to the head and sustained a concussion on November 2. The injury required a short stay in the hospital. Riat was selected by the Swiss National team for the Deutschland Cup, but was unable to play due to concussion symptoms. However, Riat heated-up after returning, and posted strong games in January and Februry, including a four-goal game.

For the 2018-19 season, Riat registered 11 goals and 14 assists in 48 games for EHC Biel-Bienne of the Swiss League.  Prior to that, he played three seasons with the Geneve-Servette Hockey Club.  He twice represented Sweden in the World Junior Championships and once in the World Championship.

By Jon Sorensen

About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His interest in the Caps has grown over the decades and included time as a season ticket holder. He has been a journalist covering the team for 10+ years, primarily focusing on analysis, analytics and prospect development.
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