Alexander Romanov to Officially Join Montreal Canadiens in Phase Three and Four

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Montreal Canadiens prospect Alexander Romanov will officially join the team for Phases Three and Four. In May they agreed to terms on a three-year entry-level deal with Romanov, now with the new CBA ratified, the signing is set to come soon.

UPDATE: Per his agent, Dan Milstein, Romanov has officially signed with the Canadiens.

Canadiens sign Alexander Romanov

Montreal drafted Alexander Romanov 38th overall in the 2018 draft. Romanov is a brilliantly skating defenceman who can move the puck well, has good offensive skills and is excellent defensively. He has played the last two seasons with CSKA Moscow in the KHL. Romanov scored 11 points 86 games during his two combined two seasons in the KHL. However, he shined playing against his peers. Romanov scored 14 points in 14 combined games at the 2019 and 2020 World Junior Championships. He was named the tournament’s best defenceman in 2019.

There is a snag with Romanov’s signing, it is he can’t play this year. Instead, he’ll simply be limited to joining the team in Montreal for practices and training camp. However, since Romanov’s contract starts for the 2019-20 season, he burns the first year of his entry-level contract even without playing a game. He is not alone. Fellow Russians Kirill Kaprizov and Ilya Sorokin would find themselves in the same situation if they sign for this season. Other irregular contract details include that they can’t receive a signing bonus for 2019-20, and their 2020-21 signing bonus will be withheld until Nov. 1.

What This Means for the Future

Romanov being unable to play this season means he will have to wait until the start of the 2020-21 season to play for Montreal. In the immediate future that is tough for the Canadiens who could use a steady left-shot defender to beef up their left-side as it is much weaker than their right-side. However, it is great news for the following season. Romanov’s speed and smarts should allow him to transition quickly to the NHL. He also has two years of experience playing against men in the KHL, the top European professional league, so he should have no problem playing against men at the NHL level. His excellent defensive game should allow the coaching staff to trust him quickly.

Still, this does grant Romanov the ability to practice with an NHL club. He will have to quarantine for two weeks upon his arrival in Canada but after that he will get all of the training that Habs players already do, surely helping along with his development.

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