According to Steve Lloyd of TEAM 1200 Ottawa, Senators GM Bryan Murray has severed ties with Nikita Filatov.
“He signed [in Russia],” Murray said in explaining why he’s not going to make Filatov a qualifying offer. “He made the decision.”
The news hardly comes as a surprise. In May, Filatov signed a two-year deal with Salavaty Yulaev of the KHL, essentially severing whatever ties he had left to the NHL.
That decision came after Filatov already spurned the Ottawa organization in December, by not reporting for assignment to AHL Binghamton.
If this is indeed the final nail in Filatov’s NHL coffin, it leaves a legacy of unfulfilled promise. The highly-skilled Russian — taken ahead of Erik Karlsson, Cody Hodgson, Tyler Myers, Jordan Eberle and Michael Del Zotto at the ’08 draft — initially drew comparisons to Ilya Kovalchuk and broke onto the scene by scoring in his NHL debut, then notching a hat trick four games later.
But rifts with management (most notably in Columbus) and a lack of interest in learning the defensive side of the game became his undoing.
On the plus side, he did give us the “Filly don’t do rebounds” story, which is a beaut.
Nikita Filatov, we hardly knew ye.
The former Blue Jackets draft bust and Senators forward disappointment will be staying in Russia for the next two seasons. According to the team website for Salavat Yulaev in the KHL, Filatov has signed a two-year deal with the team (link in Russian).
Filatov started this season with the Ottawa Senators looking to make something of his career in the NHL, but did not live up to expectations and rather than work on his game in the AHL all over again, was allowed to go to Russia where he played for CSKA this season.
The former sixth overall selection of the Blue Jackets in 2008 has been nothing but a disappointment in North America playing in 53 games over parts of four seasons amassing just six goals and eight assists. With CSKA this season he had four goals and four assists in 18 games. While he might come back someday to the NHL, right now that possibility doesn’t seem likely.
The Columbus Blue Jackets are poised to pick first overall this summer at the NHL draft. In the past when they’ve had high picks, they’ve had some trouble. While they were able to snag Rick Nash first overall in 2002, they’ve had issues in other years.
With this year’s draft featuring top prospects like Russians Nail Yakupov and Mikhail Grigorenko, the Jackets are in a curious position. Toronto Sun columnist Steve Simmons says he has a solution for Columbus: Trade away their first-round pick to avoid having to take a potential Russian superstar.
Twice in recent history, the Jackets used an early pick on a Russian forward. Twice they failed. It didn’t work out with Nikolai Zherdev or with Nikita Filatov. They can’t afford to fail a third time with the franchise so tender.
The options, along with dealing Nash, are this for Columbus: 1) They could keep the pick and not choose Yakupov, which would be counter-productive; 2) They could flip picks with another team, trading the first choice for another early choice, and getting an asset as well; 3) They could trade the pick to the highest bidder and begin rebuilding their team.
The problem here is that guys like Filatov and Zherdev weren’t labeled as “can’t miss” prospects. Yakupov and Grigorenko are potential franchise-changing players given what they’ve been able to do as juniors. If the Jackets wind up dealing Nash this summer, they’re going to need someone to fill his role as the offensive go-to guy and to do that they’ll need it to come from one of these future stars.
Then again, with how miserably the Blue Jackets have been run throughout their short history, blowing this situation would be all too familiar of a circumstance.
Nikita Filatov is officially set to play in Russia.
Yahoo!’s Dmitry Chesnokov tweets that Filatov has come to a contract agreement with CSKA of the KHL and will be in the lineup with the team on Thursday. Filatov is signed through the end of this season and is still property of the Ottawa Senators.
It was just yesterday when Filatov’s agent said that contract negotiations going poorly could’ve meant his client came back to North America to play for the Sens, but today’s change in plans fixes things right up. Whether or not we’ll see Filatov return next season is another thing entirely. Filatov’s contract with Ottawa runs out at the end of the year and he’ll become a restricted free agent.
Maybe Filatov will want to seek out Alexander Radulov in Russia and form a dynamic duo of frustrating talent spurning the NHL for home.
Filly might not want to do the AHL, but he might not have another choice.
Yahoo!’s Dmitry Chesnokov reports that Nikita Filatov could be on his way back to North America if his situation in the KHL isn’t figured out. Chesnokov says that Filatov’s Russian agent wants his client traded from CSKA in the KHL if they’re unable to get a contract worked out.
Should that not happen, Filatov’s agent says his client would be on his way back to Ottawa with an eventual destination in Binghamton yet again. This is a lot of drama for a player that hasn’t met his potential anywhere he’s played be it in North America or Russia. While Filatov is a very talented player, he hasn’t put it together at all with either Columbus or with Ottawa.
This season could be Filatov’s last chance to prove himself for the NHL as he’s due to be a restricted free agent after this season. With his ups and downs this year, Ottawa re-signing him would seem unlikely if he can’t show them he can play. If he stays on in the KHL this season, we might not see him back in the NHL or AHL for a while.