Heading into the 2022 NHL Draft, the NY Islanders owned their first-round pick for the first time since the draft in 2019 when they selected Simon Holmstrom 23rd overall. Despite still owning the pick on July 7th, the belief was that GM Lou Lamoriello would move the 13th overall selection in return for an immediate roster upgrade. The road wasn't exactly a straight line to get there, but Lamoriello did exactly that, rather than use the selection to improve what's largely known as a weak prospect pool in the Islanders pipeline.
Moments before the trade was announced, there was the belief that something was brewing between the Islanders and the Vancouver Canucks. The rumor was that the Canucks were hesitant to sign J.T. Miller to a long-term contract, and they were open to listening to offers on the 99-point player.
When push came to shove, it appeared that the Canucks weren't willing to allow Miller to talk extension with the Islanders causing the deal to fall apart at the table, and when asked about the situation, Patrick Allvin and Lamoriello sent mixed messages about what happened:
"Ask Vancouver."- Lou Lamoriello on possible Miller trade
"There was definitely nothing going on [with the Islanders]."- Patrick Allvin on possible Miller trade
Believe it or not, we're not here to talk about the Miller fallout. Lamoriello had a plan, and a darn good one when things fell apart last second with Vancouver. Moments later, the Islanders and Montreal Canadiens were in agreement to swap the 13th overall selection for Alexander Romanov and a fourth-round pick in 2022. The fourth-rounder was used later to select defenseman Isaiah George.
Acquiring Romanov received mixed reviews. Some believed it was an expensive price to pay and others believe the Islanders got an impact player. The truth of the matter is the Islanders traded a defenseman that will slot into the Islanders' blue line in the top-4, presumably as Noah Dobson's new D-partner. Romanov is 22 years old and is known as a physical defensive defenseman with excellent skating ability. He has already collected a highlight reel of big hits and some believe he has untapped potential in the offense department. Regardless, Romanov is that kind of defenseman NHL organizations hope to draft at 13th overall and will be an immediate upgrade to the Islanders' blue line.
In the Islanders' offseason disappointment, the acquisition of Romanov was lost. As TSN's Eric Macramalla said, "(Romanov) is a stud and your parents feel it when he hits you." He's an exciting, young addition to the Islanders' defense that will surely bring fans to the edge of their seat or feet with some big hits on the ice with the potential to blossom into more in a well-structured Lane Lambert system. With that said, let's take a look at some of Romanov's top moments in his young NHL career.