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European Prospect Report: Alexander Romanov shows maturity in the first week of the KHL season

A weekly report on the Montreal Canadiens players developing overseas.

2018 NHL Draft - Portraits Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

The KHL season has started, and there are only a few days left until the opening night in Finland’s top division, Liiga, with Ylönen, Ikonen, and Kotkaniemi (if he returns) starting on the 14th of September, and SHL, with Olofsson, on the 15th. The next European Prospect Report will bring you the updates from the opening night from both leagues.

Alexander Romanov, CSKA, KHL, Russia

The fact that Romanov has played in all four games of the KHL season so far shows that CSKA won’t hold back when it comes to giving the young defender a chance to carve out a role on the team. Right now, that role is to develop and be a late-period substitute, but with the intensity of the KHL season it is likely that his ice time will increase, especially as CSKA will take over and dominate against a few of the teams that are expected to be near the bottom of the standings.

Still, to have an average time close to six-and-a-half minutes over four games in what is arguably considered the second-best league in the world, after having been a virtual unknown when Montreal drafted him, is totally unexpected.

Romanov is getting more and more time in the offensive zone, and he plays it smart. He does the small things right, playing a mature game and letting others make the high-risk plays. He is focused on counting the opposing players correctly and placing himself in the right position, and with that mindset his ice time should only increase.

Joni Ikonen, KalPa, Liiga, Finland

Injured in the off-season, he is expected to return at the end of December or early January.

Jesse Ylönen, Pelicans, Liiga, Finland

No games for Ylönen's Pelicans this week. Liiga starts on Friday evening and the Pelicans will play Vaasan Sport away.

Jesperi Kotkaniemi, Ässät, Liiga, Finland

After taking part in previous pre-season games in Finland, Kotkaniemi is in Montreal for the rookie and training camps.

Jacob Olofsson, Timrå IK, SHL, Sweden

The last pre-season game for Timrå will be played on Tuesday against Brynäs. It will give us an indication of where Coach Andersson will play Olofsson this upcoming weekend when Timrå opens their SHL campaign away to Linköping.