The fact that he was included on Montreal’s training camp roster took any suspense out of the process but Alexander Romanov has now officially signed his entry-level deal with the Canadiens. The deal will begin in the 2019-20 season.
This means that Romanov will burn the first year of his entry-level contract this year even though he won’t be eligible to play until next season. However, doing this means that they can have a slightly lower cap hit on the other two years of the deal as signing bonus can be paid to Romanov for this season so they were able to exclude that element and drop the cap hit by $30,833 ($92,500 max signing bonus divided by three) in the process. With bonuses, the deal carries an AAV of $1.1775 million.
It’s also worth noting that Romanov will not accrue a season towards UFA eligibility nor will he be eligible for an offer sheet or salary arbitration when his deal expires. Basically, going this route allows him to start working out with the team now to get a leg up for next season and in the process, it allows him to get to his second contract a year quicker.
It also gives the Canadiens some control over what they want to do with him if they decide to loan him somewhere to get some action in overseas in September and October before training camp begins. It’s no guarantee they’ll go that route – asking him to play games before the season and then ask him to play 82 regular season contests is risky – but it gives them a bit more flexibility on that end as well.
The 20-year-old was drafted by the Habs in the second round (38th overall) back in 2018. Since then, he has turned into one of Montreal’s top prospects after a pair of stellar showings with Russia at the World Juniors while he logged nearly 13 minutes a night for CSKA Moscow, one of the top KHL teams, this season.
GM Marc Bergevin has said in the past that he envisions Romanov making an impact relatively quickly when he comes over. He’ll have to wait for a few more months now but this means that Romanov is one step closer to making his eventual NHL debut.