The window to officially sign contracts for the 2019-20 season opens this afternoon and it seems as though at least one player will be inking a deal to burn the first year of his entry-level pact. Alexander Romanov has officially signed with the Montreal Canadiens. The deal will start in 2019-20 and though he can join the team in training camp, the young defenseman will not be permitted to suit up in the playoffs. Chris Johnston of Sportsnet reports that Romanov’s deal will also include a European out-clause in the second two seasons, allowing him to return to the KHL under certain circumstances (usually being held down in the minor leagues for a certain amount of time.)
The 20-year old Romanov arrives in Montreal with plenty of hype after his performances in the World Junior Championship. For two straight years, he has been among the best players in the tournament, taking home two medals and a tournament Best Defenseman award in the process. Add those performances to a pair of seasons playing a regular role in the KHL with the powerhouse CSKA Moscow club (as a teenager no less), and you’ve got the making of a top NHL prospect.
That’s exactly what Romanov is, despite falling all the way to 38th overall in the 2018 draft. He comes to Montreal as a potential anchor for their back end, one that has shown the ability to move the puck and shut down opposing players with ease. The fact that he’s left-handed only adds to his value for a team that already has right-handers Shea Weber and Jeff Petry locked up.
Romanov won’t be taking part in any games this summer, but you can bet he’ll be a factor for the Canadiens in 2020-21. While they lose a year of his entry-level deal, he still won’t be a restricted free agent until 2022.