There are potentially three options that will see Romanov back in-game action.
- NHL: still unclear if he’ll be able to play for the remainder of the 2019-20 season although it does seem unlikely at this point.
- AHL: No game action until the start of the 2020-21 season. The start date remains uncertain but they continue to plan as if the season will start on time as per Patrick Williams’ article.
- Loan to the KHL: A lot of variables…would CSKA want him back for a few months taking a roster spot away from a full-time player? Currently there is no transfer agreement between the NHL and KHL so that makes things even murkier. I doubt this would come to fruition.
Now despite the league expressing that current year contracts are ineligible due to the “pause” they have yet to make it official to teams, agents, NHLPA etc.. Below is a comment from Michael Russo’s article regarding the same situation surrounding Minnesota’s forward Kirill Kaprizov.
But when the NHL suspended this season March 12, the league instructed teams that no contracts for draft picks or college, junior and European free agents could be signed with a start date of this current season.Sources: Kirill Kaprizov likely won’t be allowed to debut if Wild season resumes
Romanov’s agent, Dan Milstein had a few comments on the situation on his client and the Montreal Canadiens agreeing to a contract with a TBD start date.
The rules could change, so we’ll see…At the moment the league suspended the games due to COVID, they did prohibit signings for this season, but when we resume playing, we shall see…NHL’s Daly would be ‘very surprised’ if Alexander Romanov is eligible to play this season
So if Romanov is unable to play for the remainder of this 24-team format and potential playoff rounds he could be out of game action for up to 9 months. His last action came in a KHL playoff game on March 8th in which he only played a grand total of 3:51 in ice time. Not an ideal situation for a developing player looking to transition to North America. The best case scenario is the 2020-21 AHL season starts on time and Romanov can join the Laval Rocket while waiting for the NHL’s delayed season to start, potentially as late as January 2021.
With regards to the above options Dan Milstein commented to Canadiens Prospects that they “would discuss all options once final ruling is out”.
In the meantime it sounds as though he could potentially be around the team, if he decides to come to Montreal over the next few months according to this report from The Atheltic’s Arthur Staple.
We should have some clarification on this item over the next few weeks considering the NHL now has official plans in place.