The KHL announced Wednesday morning that it is canceling the rest of the playoffs. In Montreal, eyes are therefore turned to Alexander Romanov, considered one of the best hopes of the organization of the Canadian.
The defender wears the colors of CSKA Moscow, who easily qualified for the second round of the playoffs by sweeping Nijni Novgorod’s Torpedo in four games.
Romanov’s contract expires this spring, which opens the door for his arrival in Montreal, if the player gets along with CH. According to his agent, Dan Milstein, Romanov would be able to make the jump.
“In my opinion, he is ready to play in the National League. But that will be our discussions in the coming weeks, “said Milstein, in a telephone conversation with The Press, Wednesday.
The NHL season has still not been canceled, and incredibly, the league has asked teams to check on the availability of their amphitheaters as far back as in August, according to several media reports.
However, there is currently a form of embargo on contracts signed for this season, due to the uncertainty surrounding the continuation of activities. Thus, Romanov and the Habs can very well agree now on a contract valid for the 2020-2021 season.
However, the player may well want to wait until the NHL deadlock is resolved before making a decision. In the surrealistic scenario of a resumption of activities in June, for example, Romanov could therefore sign a contract this spring, and would immediately pass the first year of his recruit contract. An advantage for any player, who can thus sign a second, more profitable contract more quickly, in a few years.
Due to the ambient uncertainty, however, it is unclear whether the latter will be allowed. Many, many questions are pending in the present circumstances.
Romanov has just completed his second full season in KHL. In 43 season games, he amassed 7 assists and averaged 12.53 seconds per game. In the playoffs, he has played all four of his team’s games, but his time has dropped to 4:56. Was this a sign of a team expecting their player to leave for North America? This is a hypothesis which defends itself.
Plans for him
In the meantime, we are not mistaken in saying that Marc Bergevin already has plans for the player he drafted 38th in 2018. Last month, the Canadian’s general manager told The Press that he saw, “in an ideal world”, Romanov in the third duet next year. It must be said that behind Ben Chiarot, the Canadiens ’left flank is crammed with question marks, with Brett Kulak and Victor Mete as other options.
“We’re going to be careful saying that he will start on a third pair; then we’ll see how it will adjust, Bergevin had told colleague Mathias Brunet.
“Eventually he will go up [en grade], but we don’t know how long it will take. He’s a very alert defender. The word “alert” is important. He sees everything that is happening on the ice. It breaks a lot of games. “
In the same interview, Bergevin added that he hoped to bring Ilya Kovalchuk back to Montreal to serve as an older brother to Romanov.
It will be interesting to see if Romanov is as ready to take the plunge as Bergevin hopes. In his age group, he has always risen to the challenge. Just last winter, at the World Junior Championship, he was named to the all-star team and helped Russia win the silver medal.
Among the pros, he presented +16 and +21 differentials in his two seasons, but he also played a limited role, for a power in the KHL, a circuit where the parity is not the same as in NHL . Random indicator: The team’s two goaltenders Lars Johansson and Ilya Sorokin have averaged 1.40 and 1.50 goals this season.
“He plays with men in Russia, but the NHL is the best league in the world,” Bergevin said last month.
What if a stay in the American League is necessary? “We didn’t talk about it. And even if his contract was signed, I would not answer that question, “said Dan Milstein. The question deserves to be asked, because of the chasm between the maximum salary of a first contract in the NHL ($ 925,000) and in the American League ($ 70,000). There is a lot of money at stake.
In such cases, however, European players often negotiate a clause allowing them to return to their European club if they are in the American League by a certain date at the start of the season.