The NY Islanders made a shocking play during the 2022 NHL draft when they traded away their 13th overall pick to acquire Alexander Romanov from the Montreal Canadiens. This was the biggest move that Lou Lamoriello ended up making that off-season. Almost one year later, fans still ask "was it really worth it?" and the jury is still out for many to know the answer to that question.
There are plenty of reasons to be high on Romanov and what he brings to the team. Firstly, he is just 23 years old but has played three seasons in the big leagues already. Upon acquiring the Russian defenseman, Lamoriello quickly signed him to a three-year contract worth $2.5 million per year, showing commitment and confidence in the young blueliner. He plays on the left side and was envisioned to round out the top 4 pairings next to Noah Dobson, and he did that for a decent amount of time in his first season with the team.
NY Islanders 2022-23 player report card: Alexander Romanov
Romanov is more useful to the Islanders in the defensive zone rather than on the scoresheet, but he does show some potential on the other side as well. The former second-round pick won't wow you with his production so far, scoring two goals and 20 assists for 22 points. He doubled his assist total from last season and scored more points in the 2022-23 campaign than he did in his two years combined with Montreal. So, the growth may be slow and steady but it's most certainly there.
Romanov proved to be a stable defender for New York in his first season with the club. He tied for second on the Isles in plus-minus with a +13 rating on the year. He also most likely played through injury near the end of the regular season and in the playoffs, the former being the point that he struggled the most. After missing game one, Romanov was needed in the lineup when Samuel Bolduc showed that he was not ready for the physicality of the playoffs. Physicality may be Romanov's most noteworthy trait for both Islanders fans and fans of opposing teams, adding an extra level of fear factor with his open-ice hits. Some of his biggest hits are kept clean and look almost Jacob Trouba-like in nature (or for Lamoriello maybe Scott Stevens-like).
Again, Romanov has not been a player that wows you with production up until this point, and some who value having a low top-15 pick in the draft say that trading the first-rounder for him could have been an overpay. However, Romanov fit in well with the team, proved his worth, and gives the Isles a low-cost, young up-and-coming D-Man for the foreseeable future. After his first season with the blue and orange, Romanov earns a solid B on the year.