The New York Islanders, whether you are convinced yet or not, got better up in Montreal with the acquisition of defenseman Alexander Romanov from the Montreal Canadiens.
Because Alexander Romanov is a 10.2(c) restricted free agent, that means he is not arbitration-eligible, cannot be offer-sheeted, and he must sign with the team that owns his rights–the New York Islanders.
Even better news for the New York Islanders was that Romanov is in Russia, but was making his way back to North America in the coming days per a report by Eric Engels on July 4.
Per Kevin Kurz of The Athletic, Alexander Romanov is stateside, and is in Miami with his wife.
Alexander Romanov and his girlfriend are now in Miami, according to her Instagram account and confirmed by a league source.
— Kevin Kurz (@KKurzNHL) July 11, 2022
CSKA Moscow is knocking on Romanov’s front door.
CSKA Moscow, Alexander Romanov’s former team, the same team that Ilya Sorokin played for, has offered the 22-year-old defenseman a two-year deal per The Sports-Express, a daily newspaper in Russia. The deal is worth around $957k (60M rubbles).
“The author of the piece [Nikita Nadezhin] interviewed Ilya Sorokin earlier in the summer and appeared to not be fond of the New York Islanders or general manager Lou Lamoriello, and asked questions trying to get Sorokin to throw his teammates under the bus,” Nicole Shirman, a contributor to Inside the Rink said.
Even more of a reason for this to be a trick.
But Lou Lamoriello is not the one to play tricks on. Just ask the Vancouver Canucks.
Marco D’Amico of Montreal Hockey Now believes that this is a leverage move by Dan Milstein, Alexander Romanov, and his upcoming deal with the New York Islanders.
That makes sense.
The same thing happened to Minnesota Wild forward Kirill Kaprizov last season (Dan Milstein client), as CSKA Moscow offered him a one-year deal worth $10 million. Wild general manager Bill Guerin, at the end of the day, offered him a five-year, $45 million deal ($9 million), in which he happily signed.
The ‘Milstein move’ worked to perfection as after just one season in the NHL, winning Rookie of the Year, of course, Kirill Kaprizov got paid.
Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello did not give a timetable regarding Romanov and a contract following Day 1 of the 2022 NHL Draft back on Thursday. The number and terms have not been defined as of yet, but Romanov is likely to get between $2 million and $3 million on his contract with the New York Islanders, depending on length.
That trumps the CSKA offer by over $1 million.
But it’s about Russia and Romanov’s history there.
Romanov played two seasons for CSKA Moscow from 2018 to 2020 and has roots that go way back in Russian hockey. His father, Stanislav Romanov, played 15 seasons in Russia, a handful with CSKA Moscow, while his grandfather, Zinetula Bilyaletdinov, played 20 years in Russia for Dynamo Moscow.
Last week, there was a report by The Insider, which stated that former CSKA Moscow players may have a hard time returning to North America, given the Russian Draft. New York Islanders netminder Ilya Sorokin was named in the piece, but Alexander Romanov was not, despite playing for CSKA Moscow.
Only a few names were shared, but that doesn’t mean Romanov is not included in that group–he likely is.
Per Eric Engels, Montreal Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes said everything seemed to be okay for Romanov in Russia.
Today is the deadline for RFAs to be tendered qualifying offers. We should know soon enough what the deal is, but it would be a jaw-dropping move if Alexander Romanov does not sign with the New York Islanders, a rather and highly unlikely move.