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Getting to know Montreal Canadiens 38th overall selection Alexander Romanov

The Canadiens take their first defenceman of the draft with their third selection.

Dave Reginek/Getty Images

The Montreal Canadiens made their third pick in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft and went a bit off the board with defenceman Alexander Romanov.

Romanov played for Krasnaya Armiya Moskva, which is the development team for CSKA Moscow in Russia. He played with New York Islanders second-round pick Ruslan Iskhakov. He also played for Russia at the World Under-18 championships.

He is a smaller defenceman, at 5’11, 185 lbs but gets rave reviews for his two-way play. He loves to shoot the puck and does a good job of it. He had seven goals and seven assists in 37 games in the MHL, the Russian U-20 league. He has a reduced wind up which makes life difficult for goaltenders to stop his slap shot.

Most scouts have noticed his shot which seems to play like an elite skill.

He is praised for his potential, as he is a very raw player and a player the Canadiens could afford to take a chance on with three other second-round picks. They can afford to take risks on players who can play in today’s NHL and Romanov fits the bill.

There are concerns about his size, but in today’s NHL, he fits the mould. And while he is known for his offensive game, his zone in his own end is also very good.

Romanov tends to play bigger than his size, and loves to play physical. He isn’t just a guy who skates around and shoots the puck. While scouts like his offensive potential, he also gets a lot of praise for his all around game.


Future Considerations

Smooth lateral movement means he’s solid one-on-one defender. However, he could stand to improve his defensive decision-making. From his position on defense, he’s proven that he can score goals. On the power play, he’s a dependable option. He’s a totally offensively minded blueliner and he’s always looking for a route to carry the puck out of the defensive zone.

The Draft Analyst

He can be used in every situation (Power play, penalty kill, late/close draws) and displays reliability in all three zones. Romanov finds openings once inside the opposing blue line thanks to quick feet, awareness and showing a strong desire to gain control of the puck. He has a devastating shot — wrist or slap — and can score from distances well above the circles.

Hockey Prospect Black Book

He’s not only involved in the offensive-side of the ice. He’s a well-rounded defender who plays bigger than his size, showing a high-degree of fearlessness when engaging against larger players. We have seen him deliver some massive hits, sending much bigger player crashing to the ice [...] Romanov has some untapped offensive potential and a well-rounded defensive game, however he’s undersized, doesn’t possess any dynamic qualities, and lacks the high-end puck distribution skills that you want to see out of an offensive-minded defenseman.


Future Considerations: 179
Hockey Prospect: 156
The Hockey News: 106
Bob McKenzie: 83
The Draft Analyst: 126
EOTP Consensus Ranking: 184

The rankings, and lack of them, can be attributed to where he played. He was an unknown commodity for many, and the ones who did scout him seemed more to have questions about him, than any concerns about his play.

It is a gamble for the Canadiens to take a player like this so early in the draft. But when you can insulate it with surer things around the draft and with the amount of picks they have, you can afford to take a chance on a guy that you really, really like and it seems like the Canadiens really liked Romanov.