Alexander Romanov can’t play for the Montreal Canadiens this season

VANCOUVER , BC - JANUARY 4: Alexander Romanov. (Photo by Kevin Light/Getty Images)
VANCOUVER , BC - JANUARY 4: Alexander Romanov. (Photo by Kevin Light/Getty Images) /

The Montreal Canadiens have been waiting for clarity on whether Alexander Romanov could play for the team this season, and it looks like it won’t happen.

The signing of Alexander Romanov, in combination with the NHL’s Return to Play Plan, created a cascade of questions for the Montreal Canadiens. The Habs have been one of those teams frustrating other organizations by having TBD start dates on contracts such as Romanov’s. However, before the deal was even signed, management was in conversation with the league, wondering whether the defenceman could play with the team this season or not.

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly had a Q&A segment with Gary Bettman after the chairman’s initial presser Tuesday afternoon. Besides talking more about the future phases of the Return to Play Plan, as well as the new Draft Lottery, the question of expanded rosters came up.

The Trade Deadline creates a lot of buzz with all the player transactions that occur, but it also dictates who can play in the playoffs. After the deadline passes, teams are allowed four regular callups while the rest must be made on an emergency basis. The Montreal Canadiens had two of those this season, which saw Karl Alzner and Charles Hudon return to the roster.

According to Daly, teams will be able to use an expanded roster for the upcoming playoffs, and we’ve already heard talk of teams carrying extra goaltenders just in case. What also came up was the ability for players to allow newly signed players and prospects to join the roster. And this, unfortunately, was a no.

It’s unfortunate for the Montreal Canadiens and Romanov, who was likely hoping to get some games in with the team at some point this season. Another thing that may throw salt in the wound is the fact that the KHL is preparing to have its 2020-21 campaign kick-off in September.

Combine this with the NHL not even knowing when the next season will start, some believing it could begin in January, and it’s an unfortunate set of circumstances. But it’s no one’s fault, it’s just how the cards played out.

Romanov may not be able to play for the Montreal Canadiens for some time; however, I doubt he regrets his decision. He should still be allowed to skate and practice with the team if he chooses to and begin to develop some of those off-ice relationships.

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But ironically enough, the Alexander Romanov chronicles have returned to the ream of his eventual debut with the Habs being a matter of ‘when not if.’