For the second straight Friday, the Habs signed one of their prospects as they have agreed to terms with defenceman Alexander Romanov on a three-year, entry-level contract. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
This deal has a bit of a wrinkle in it as there is no set start date to the deal. By doing it this way, it means that Romanov will burn the first year of his contract if the Habs resume play this season (or are invited to participate in an expanded 24-team playoff which appears to be the NHL’s focus at this point). If the rest of the campaign is called off, then it will start in 2020-21. He isn’t the only prospect to sign such a deal as three others around the league have done so in recent weeks.
The 20-year-old was drafted by the Habs in the second round (38th overall) back in 2018. At the time, it looked like a significant reach based on his draft rankings but it has turned out to be a shrewd selection as he has quickly emerged as one of Montreal’s top prospects.
Romanov spent this season with CSKA Moscow of the KHL where he was once again limited in his role as the sixth or seventh defender. He played 43 games for them this season, recording seven assists while logging 12:53 per night. However, he had a much bigger role for the Russians at the World Juniors, logging nearly 21 minutes per game while making the tournament All-Star team for the second straight season.
GM Marc Bergevin has said several times in the past that he envisions Romanov suiting up for the Habs right away. While there’s some hope that he could help fill the big void on the left side of the defence in recent years, it’s likely that he will be eased into his role with the Canadiens whether that starts this season or next.