In 2008, the Columbus Blue Jackets selected Nikita Filatov out of Moscow, Russia with the sixth overall pick. Filatov was one of the most talented prospects in that year’s NHL entry draft, ranking second in forwards just behind the awesome Steven Stamkos.
Filatov found himself floating between the NHL and AHL ranks throughout his rookie season. After a short stint in the NHL in 2009-2010, Filatov elected to return to the KHL where he notched 22 points in 26 games. The following year, he took a step back, racking up a mere 7 assists in 23 NHL games before being sent down. Falling clearly short of expectations, he was sent down to the AHL for the rest of the season.
The many questions about his work ethic and attitude towards the game, management were forced to reconsider Filatov’s NHL career. The Blue Jackets had enough and decided to begin looking to move the Russian forward. The Ottawa Senators were a prefect trading partner; a team on the rebuild with nothing to lose but a third-round pick. As the deal passed, optimism reigned in the Senators organization.
In the aftermath of the trade, the Senators projected Filatov to play on the top 2 lines alongside either Jason Spezza or Daniel Alfredsson. So far, that hasn’t been the case. Filatov recorded but one assist in his six games with the Sens and was sent back down to the AHL Baby Sens. Filatov has made it clear he does not enjoy his time in the American Hockey League and wants to be earning an NHL Salary. He has made clear he is willing to return to the KHL where he would make a similar salary to that of the NHL.
Senators GM Bryan Murray called a meeting with Filatov, suggesting he should “go down and play in Binghamton, and play hard. If the organization feels at the end of the trip that [they’d] like to give an opportunity to [Filatov] again … and if by the end of November [Filatov] is not in the NHL, [Murray] will sit down and talk with [Filatov] again”.
That being said, I don’t feel that Filatov was given a fair chance at the beginning of the year. Two NHL games are not sufficient to properly showcase your talent when you know the team isn’t jelling at the get-go. The Ottawa Senators clearly don’t feel he deserves to be with the big club. Coach McClean told Filatov he wants to play him but the player needs to put in the work before getting the ice time.
As the Senators mowed through their western opponents (Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks) Filatov was riding the bus with the Binghamton Senators. On Nov 18th the B-SENS faced off against the Hamilton Bulldogs at the Bell Center in Montreal. Filatov’s Talent showed up, netting two goals and an assist in a 5-2 win.
The Senators conclude their road trip in Pittsburgh on Friday night. It will be a tough test for the club as Sidney Crosby is now back in the line-up. The club ends the month with a date at home on Sunday night vs. the Carolina Hurricanes. Filatov and the B-SENS play three games this weekend, the first coming Thursday night.
It will certainly be interesting to see how Filatov performs in those three games, and if the club extends a call up invitation.
So the Question is: Nikita Filatov, are you a NHL Player? …Well, Prove it!
About the Author
Written by Jonathan Ward
22 years of age, Attending algonquin college, studying sports business management. Hockey referee for 4 years, level 3, Fan of all sports...well most. Love