Report: Capitals Prospect Damien Riat Signs Multi-Year Deal With Swiss Team

Photo: Monika Majer / RvS.Media

Damien Riat seemed to be on track for possibly challenging for a spot on the Washington Capitals’ roster this season or next season. The Capitals signed Riat to a two-year entry-level contract on March 5, 2020. Riat was preparing to report to Hershey when the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown hockey a week later.

Riat, now 25, would finally make his only appearance in the chocolate and white last spring, playing in 33 games for the Bears, recording three goals and six assists. The 2021-22 season was set to be Riat’s shot at finally competing for a roster spot in Washington.

But last summer Riat apparently changed his mind about pursuing a career in the NHL and requested a loan by the Capitals to a team in his home country of Switzerland, all but ending his North American hockey career.

Swiss Hockey news is now reporting that according to Jérôme Reynard (Sport-Center, published on 24 heures), Riat has agreed to terms with LHC, ending any minuscule chance of Riat returning to North America. Riat will apparently remain part of the team for several seasons to come. The team should announce his deal as early as this week.

Riat was originally a 4th round draft pick by the Capitals in 2016. His deal with the Capitals expires at the end of this season.

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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10 Responses to Report: Capitals Prospect Damien Riat Signs Multi-Year Deal With Swiss Team

  1. Anonymous says:

    Selling living in Hershey over living at home in Switzerland is a tough sell, apparently.

  2. novafyre says:

    We each have our own goals, our own dreams, and our own road. Not every hockey road leads to or through the NHL. I’m glad that he has found success and enjoyment. Good luck to him.

    • Anonymous says:

      Why did he sign a contract with the Capitals then? Those are limited for the club.

      • novafyre says:

        He signed a Caps contract pre-covid. During covid he went back to Switzerland and I guess he liked it enough to change his mind about the NHL. During covid a number of players found their teams not playing and looked elsewhere.

        He had been ambivalent before covid. Euro ice rink is different so play is different. Maybe he just didn’t enjoy the US style as much.

        • Anonymous says:

          He gave it just 33 games. That’s barely enough to break a sweat. I think he’s going to regret it later in life, not giving his all at a chance to play in the best league in the world.

          • novafyre says:

            He was ambivalent before signing that contract. Whether he preferred the Swiss rink, Swiss game, living there instead of here, I don’t know. But his decision didn’t surprise me. More to life than the NHL. Loads of AHL players and ECHL players never make it to the NHL yet have very successful careers, full of fan support and love. I’m not going to call any player who doesn’t make it to the NHL a loser.

  3. Anonymous says:

    He’s probably gonna regret he didn’t give it a shot. He’s said in interviews he wanted to give it two years. He didn’t last 1/3 of a season.

  4. Diane Doyle says:

    That’s probably it for him with the Caps. But wonder if he saw the prospect pipeline and figured he had next to no shot of making it to the Caps. He likely assumed he was behind McMichael, Protas, Leason, Snively, and others in the Caps’ prospect pecking order.

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