Weight: 185 lbs
Birthdate: January 5th, 1988 (23 years old)
Birthplace: Smithtown, New York
Acquired: Trade with NJD for Ben Walter, 2009
Drafted: 2006 NHL Entry Draft, 6th round, 178th overall, New Jersey Devils
2010-2011 Team: Bridgeport Sound Tigers
2010-2011 Stats: 67 GP - 7 G - 12 A - 19 P - 56 PIM
2011-2012 Team: Bridgeport Sound Tigers
Team Role: Top 9 forward
Last year: On last year's abysmal Sound Tigers team, Romano put up a respectable 19 points as a lower level forward playing with sub-par linemates. Romano was playing the role of smaller, quicker center who would set up his 2nd/3rd line teammates, but when playing with such low skill level players, it's difficult to achieve that. Regardless, Romano's hockey instincts are fantastic and that allowed him to have a productive role for BPT, which will continue on into next season.
Expectations: Romano needs to improve his defensive capabilities, but should find himself on a wing role with Jeremy Colliton or David Ullstrom on the 2nd and 3rd lines. With his quickness, playing with a definite talent in Ullstrom or an AHL vet in Colliton could end up leaving Romano with 30-40 points this coming year, if not more. As we saw with Michael Grabner, if a player is fast, the potential is certainly there. Expect Romano to find himself on a top 9 role being fed by one of those centers (assuming Cizikas gets the first line slot), putting up decent points this year if so. With a vastly improved BPT team, his time to prove himself is now. It'd be nice to have a Long Island native on a full time role with Bridgeport, or possibly even on a 4th line role on the Islanders in the future.
Projections: 68 GP - 20 G - 15 A - 35 A
AT: Romano definitely needs to take advantage of his speed and skills this year in order to make an impact and stay in the organization long term. While his stats last year considering the team and his position weren't completely awful, he definitely needs to step it up, especially with a solid center on his line. It's doubtful he'll see any center time as Colliton, Cizikas, Ullstrom and Marcinko will most likely fill out those roles. This is going to be a big year for the St. Anthony's grad, and I hope he adjusts and works accordingly.
CH: This will likely be Romano's last season in the Isles organization unless he puts up our projected numbers in the AHL. Romano, who was acquired in a trade from New Jersey, has been a modest member of the Sound Tigers for a few years but has not shown much glimpse of an NHL future. This year, there is more competition at center, so he will certainly have to compete and show that he is worthy of playing time. It's a good way to differentiate the players who are worth it against those who should be let go. Last year, we saw a similar scenario shake out with Rob Schremp at the NHL level. He did not play well and was let go midway through the season. Now, Romano has his chance to prove that he deserves time over other players at the AHL level. Let's see what he can do, one last time.