The Montreal Canadiens drafted 20-year-old defenseman Alexander Romanov during the second round of the 2018 NHL Entry Draft (38th overall). During the 2018-19 and 2019-20 seasons, Romanov played 43 games each season with CSKA Moscow. In 2018-19 he scored one goal and three assists; and, during 2019-20, he scored no goals and seven assists.
Although his statistics don’t light up the score sheet, he’s a good young player. He played in and was named to the 2020 World U20 Championships and was chosen to the media All-Star team after he scored a goal and added seven assists during seven games with Team Russia.
A Contract Was in Hand; But, There Was No Chance to Play
As a result of that stellar play, in May 2020, the Canadiens signed Romanov to a three-year, entry-level contract. The terms of the contract called for a three-year entry-level deal with a $1.17 million average annual salary including bonuses.
However, because he wasn’t signed before the NHL’s trade deadline, according to the new rules signed by the memorandum of understanding the NHL and NHLPA signed before the return-to-play, he wasn’t eligible to play any postseason games with the Canadiens. Still, that ineligibility didn’t stop the Canadiens from inviting him to join the team for both Phase 3 and 4 of the postseason.
Romanov’s Interesting and Tough Trip to Canada
Working together the Canadiens and agent Dan Milstein tried hard to expedite a work visa for Romanov. However, because his entry-level contract was officially signed on Monday and he wasn’t able to apply for a visa before that date. At the same time, when he entered Canada he required a medical that collected biometrics and all the paperwork necessary for his visa. He then needed to be quarantined before he could begin to practice with the team.
At first Romanov wanted to quarantine in Toronto so he could be close to the bubble; however, the NHL overturned its initial decision to allow Romanov to quarantine in Toronto and he was stuck having to quarantine in Montreal. Once that quarantine was over and he tested negative for COVID-19, he began to practice with the team.
In later July, after Romanov had followed all the Phase 4 protocols since he landed from Russia, he was permitted to leave his hotel room. Only then could he skate with the Canadiens.
Romanov Loved Practicing with the Team
That trip and all the hassle might not sound like much fun, but Romanov was unphased. Just a few days ago, Romanov recalled that he had a great experience inside the bubble. Now he can’t wait for his chance to in training camp with the Canadiens next season. He’s excited.
Romanov noted that just being able to hang around with players on the big club made it fun. He wants more.
Canadiens director of player development Rob Ramage was reported to have said about Romanov. “I talked to him, I think it was two days ago, and there’s another guy that’s just a delight to speak to. I mean, his energy and enthusiasm just comes right out of the phone at you.” (How Rob Ramage hopes to salvage this vital development year for the Canadiens, Arpon Basu, The Athletic, 30/10/20).
Ramage noted that Romanov “said he had a great bubble experience. He loved it. He’s anxious to get back over here ASAP. And, once again, just his whole demeanor. I mean, he’s going to compete. So, where his game is at is once again to be determined; it’s sure not going to be for lack of effort. I mean, this guy brings a lot of energy, a lot of spunk every time he steps on the ice.”
The Habs will be happy to have this excited young player with the team.
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