On Draft night, Lou Lamoriello landed a young defenseman, but not with the 13th pick.
The Islanders acquired 22-year-old Russian defenseman Alexander Romanov and the No. 98 selection in the 2022 NHL Draft from the Montreal Canadiens for the No. 13 overall.
Romanov was selected 38th overall in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft and has played 133 games over his first two seasons in the NHL. In his sophomore season, he scored three goals and added 10 assists in 79 games, playing over 20 minutes a game for Martin St. Louis.
After being drafted, Romanov generated attention when he was named Russia's Best Defenseman at the 2019 World Junior Championship. During that 2018-19 season, he was the youngest skater in the KHL, playing for CSKA Moscow. His offensive production is projected to go up at the NHL level, but his defensive results were encouraging as the young blueliner held up playing Top-4 minutes in the absence of Shea Weber.
This season, members of the media named Romanov the winner of the Jacques Beauchamp-Molson Trophy, awarded annually to the member of the Canadiens who played a dominant role during the regular season, without earning any particular honor. Romanov became a fan favorite during the season with his physical play. He led Montreal and finished sixth amongst defensemen with 225 hits and added 142 blocked shots.
Last week, Dave Pagnotta of The Fourth Period noted that the Canadiens had not yet started contract negotiations with the pending restricted free agent. Romanov is a 10.2 (c) restricted free agent meaning he has not played enough games to have any arbitration rights and cannot be subject to an offer sheet.
The Islanders are now scheduled to make their first selection of the 2022 NHL Draft in the second round (No. 65).