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Islanders News: Hello, Alexander Romanov

In a surprise move, the Islanders traded their first-round pick to the host Canadiens for ‘‘The Tsar” and a fourth-round pick. Then, they made their picks on Day 2.

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New York Islanders v Montreal Canadiens
The only picture I could find in which Romanov and his former teammate, Sorokin, are both in frame.
Photo by Francois Lacasse/NHLI via Getty Images

A couple of insiders seemed to be honing in on a potential trade between the New York Islanders and Vancouver Canucks—I believe Elliotte Friedman thought it was a trade for J.T. Miller, but who knows! Maybe it was for Tyler Myers or someone like that, which would not have been good. Either way, it probably centered on the 13th overall pick in last night’s first round.

Then, at the last minute, Lou Lamoriello opted for a different deal: He traded the 13th overall pick to the Montreal Canadiens for young blueliner Alexander Romanov (and the Canadiens immediately flipped the 13th pick and the 66th pick to the Chicago Blackhawks for Kirby Dach). Some are speculating and/or joking that Lou pulled the Vancouver deal because news of it got out. Could be. But assuming it was Miller at the center of the deal, Lou may have sought an extension as part of the trade, and Miller wasn’t ready to sign.

While I was finishing this up, I was listening to the latest 32 Thoughts podcast, and Elliotte Friedman said that he believes the Canucks are not allowing any team permission to speak with Miller or his representatives about an extension and he gathers that is probably what happened there. (Listen here to the brief note around the 10:20 mark.)

Regarding the trade Lou actually did make, my feeling is I don’t know. Neither does anyone really. That’s why the “grades” on the Islanders’ part have been all over the place. He’s 22. The numbers overall aren’t great right now, but he’s promising. He has already played over 100 games in the NHL, and he improved his play significantly when the Canadiens fired Dominique Ducharme and went with Martin St. Louis.

Lou said—and I cannot argue with the proposition—that he made the trade because it was apparent that his scouts’ players of interest were gone or would be gone by the time they picked. And hey, if you’re just throwing darts at that point, might as well throw one that’s more of a known commodity at age 22 and has already played top minutes (albeit for a lousy team). Romanov must be someone they see as moldable, someone they can fit into their system now and later. Not to mention, as a first-time RFA, he should come cheaply; he’s not even offer-sheet eligible. I don’t know if I would have made the deal, personally, but I can see the logic for it.

I don’t necessarily agree with some who are calling it poor asset management. In a vacuum, Romanov probably wasn’t worth a first-round pick. I agree there. But at the 2022 NHL Draft, factoring in (1) who was left on the draft board, (2) Romanov’s contract status, (3) the Islanders’ needs, and (4) the Islanders’ timeline, he evidently was—you cannot operate out of a vacuum. And again, if you’re getting up on the podium and taking a swing, and you’re a team that needs to compete next season, you might as well go for 22-year-old over the 18-year-old.

Let’s see what the kid can do.

Islanders News

  • Here is the team’s story on the trade. [Islanders] Here is our story on the trade, featuring a wide range of professional and amateur opinions on Romanov. [LHH] Find Lou’s quotes about the Romanov trade here. [Newsday]
  • Romanov represents the young, left-handed top-four defenseman that the Islanders have badly needed. [The Athletic] And there are quite a few Canadiens fans upset by the deal and who will miss Romanov. To wit:
  • As the Isles do, here are 7 Facts about the new guy. One of them: He played with Ilya Sorokin for three years with CSKA Moscow. [Islanders]
  • We got the results back on our survey just in time for the Islanders to trade their pick. But 35% of you said that they should do that! The 70% who said they would trade a roster player by the end of the draft turned out to be incorrect, though. [LHH]

Isles Draft Picks

  • The Islanders’ first pick of the draft was no. 65 overall, Calle Odelius, a speedy Swedish defenseman. [LHH]
  • Their second pick, at no. 78, was American forward Quinn Finley, another speedy player. [LHH] He will play for the Wisconsin Badgers this year. [The Rink Live]
  • They also acquired a fourth-rounder in the Romanov trade, the first pick of the fourth round, no. 98, which the Isles spent on Isaiah George. [LHH] The Canadian defenseman battled through barriers to get here. [Edmonton Journal]
  • They used their final two picks (nos. 142 and 174) on Canadian wingers Matthew Maggio and Daylan Kuefler. Both were second-year draft-eligible, so a little older and a little further along but still long shots. [LHH]

Trades and Signings

  • The Chicago Blackhawks were wheeling and dealing yesterday, starting with sending Alex DeBrincat to the Ottawa Senators for the 7th overall pick and more, and then trading Kirby Dach to the Canadiens. [NHL]
  • Mark Lazerus felt trading DeBrincat was a short-sighted move from the get-go and the underwhelming return confirmed it for him. [The Athletic]
  • The Sens fans spoke to Blackhawks fans about DeBrincat, trying to gauge what player they just acquired. [Silver Seven]
  • A brief mention of the Canucks’ side of the trade; the guy Vancouver wanted fell to their original pick at no. 15, so maybe they pulled out of the deal? Or at least they don’t feel bad about missing out on it. [Vancouver Is Awesome]
  • Marc-Andre Fleury extended for two more years with the Minnesota Wild. [NHL]
  • Kris Letang hopes that his new contract still leaves room for Evgeni Malkin. [NHL]
  • Nathan MacKinnon is on a sweetheart contract right now, but he is eligible to sign a big-time extension this summer, and GM Joe Sakic hopes to get it done. [NHL]
  • The goalie carousel went round and round, but still standing are Darcy Kuemper, the Oilers, the Maple Leafs, and the Capitals. Oh, and maybe Cam Talbot. [The Athletic]

2022 NHL Draft

  • The Canadiens didn’t just engineer a three-way trade; they also hosted the draft and held the first overall pick, which they used on Juraj Slafkovsky, a late-rising Slovak LW, over presumptive no. 1 pick, Canadian center Shane Wright. [NHL]
  • There were some amazing names on the draft board. No, like their names, they’re amazing. Jimmy Snuggerud? Jagger Firkus? These are real names? [Vancouver Is Awesome]
  • Winners and losers, as they always do. [ESPN]