Nikita Filatov’s attempt at breaking out in the NHL this season with the Blue Jackets isn’t going very well. The 20 year-old Filatov has had his ups and downs (mostly downs) with the Jackets this season and now he’s headed down to the AHL to join the Springfield Falcons. Filatov has zero goals, seven assists, and a +3 rating over 23 games this season all while averaging just over 12 minutes per game in ice time. Tom Sestito is being called up to take his place.
Filatov was the Blue Jackets #1 draft pick in the 2008 draft (sixth overall) and while he’s a quick skater with slick offensive skills, he’s had a hard time since the Jackets have brought him into the fold. Last season after being demoted to the AHL, Filatov was loaned to the KHL to work on his game and be more comfortable than he would’ve been in the AHL.
Aaron Portzline of The Columbus Dispatch reports that Filatov’s agent, Don Meehan, says Filatov will report to the AHL. Filatov’s struggles adapting to the NHL are becoming more pronounced. While Ken Hitchcock was the head coach in Columbus, many believed that his strict defensive-minded game was holding Filatov’s natural offensive ability. Now with Scott Arniel in charge, he’s been about as patient with the young Russian but still he struggles.
It’s not time to start calling Filatov an official bust, but it’s clear there’s something amiss there. This could very well be a situation where he needs a change of scenery to flourish but don’t expect the Jackets to give up on him before seeing all they need to see.