Romanov set to make instant impact with Canadiens

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Alexandre Romanov has a great chance to make an immediate impact with the Montreal Canadiens in the defenseman’s first season in North America.

“Obviously we have to give him a chance to win this place and prove it, but it’s there for him to do it,” Canadiens assistant coach Luke Richardson said on Tuesday. “We’ve evaluated players before and you’ve seen them come out of the world junior championships as stars and do really well in the NHL, so we wouldn’t expect anything less for Romanov. ”
Richardson, a 21-year NHL defenseman, said Romanov had “that electricity in his game.” The 20-year-old was named top defenseman at the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship after scoring eight points (one goal, seven assists) in seven games to help Russia finish third. He also scored six points (one goal, five assists) in seven games at WJC 2020 and was named to the tournament’s all-star team after helping Russia to finish second.

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Romanov, selected by Montreal in the second round (38th) of the 2018 NHL Draft, scored 11 points (one goal, 10 assists) and was over-37 in 86 games for CSKA Moscow in the Continental Hockey League during the last two seasons.

“He’s a very exciting player, exciting to watch,” said Richardson. “He plays with passion and excitement. It’s always fun and it will look great on a Saturday night at the Bell Center. ”

Romanov (5-foot-11, 185 pounds) gained some experience with the Canadiens in Toronto, the hub of the Eastern Conference, for the first two rounds of the Stanley Cup Playoffs after accepting a contract to Three-year-old entered July 13. He practiced with the Canadiens, but was not eligible to play in the playoffs.

The NHL is targeting January 1, 2021 for the start of the season. Romanov could start with Montreal’s third pair of defense, but it might not take long to gain some extra ice time.

“If he’s that good he’ll make a second pair before you know it,” Canadiens coach Claude Julien said. “But I think we allow him to develop and gain experience at a comfortable pace and allow him to show what he’s capable of.

“He’s a very confident individual. Who knows where he will be once the season has started? He’s a guy who can surprise a lot of people just because he has these attributes, but he also has the confidence to go with it. can push a lot of people before you know it. ”

Richardson said he hopes to use the preseason games to experiment where Romanov is best suited and assess the Canadiens’ depth at defenseman level. Montreal accepted a four-year contract with Joël Edmundson September 16, four days after being acquired in trade with the Carolina Hurricanes. His arrival, the maturation of Victor Mete, 22 years old, and the presence of the captain Shea Weber and Jeff Petry give Canadians options on how defense pairs are structured.

“I think we kind of have to see it,” Richardson said. “It might just take a little while. A little trial and error, but trial and error, like just little testing here and there, and seeing what works best. I think physically [Romanov] really does a great job with his stick and then his body to separate people from the puck, and I think that’s really going to help him spend more time on the ice with anyone.

“We’re not worried about him physically against a big, strong line; not at all. I think he will be fine there. He’s going to surprise a lot of people physically and you’ll see him, I’m sure, early in the season when people who don’t know him so well will be on their way. [backsides] in our area, which is a big thing for us. ”

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