- Left wing
- 20 years old, 3rd year (kinda-sorta) in National Hockey League
- $2,195,833 cap hit
- 3.7% of Columbus Blue Jackets salary cap
- Contract expires at end of 2011-2012
- 2009-2010 numbers with CBJ: 13 games played, 2 goals, 0 assists, 2 points, +/- of zero, 8 penalty minutes, 8:06 avg. time on ice
- 2009-2010 numbers with CSKA Moscow: 26 games played, 9 goals, 13 assists, 22 points, +3, 16 penalty minutes, 16:30 avg. time on ice
|Nikita Filatov scored a hat trick for the Columbus Blue Jackets|
early in his NHL career. Will the magic return in 10-11?
Can a guy get a mulligan on an entire year? If possible, please sign Nikita Filatov up for one. Take a look at this and try not to wince:
- Filatov has a falling out with the Columbus system - presumably focussed on Ken Hitchcock, who buried him in the lineup and apparently lectured him about not becoming Nik Zherdev - and gets loaned to the KHL's CSKA Moscow (the original Red Army team). He has a good initial run with CSKA and then things went sour.
- He played for Russia in the World Junior Championships and, after a falling-out with the coach, was stripped of his captaincy.
- He started training for the World Championships for Russia but got bumped once the Penguins (Malkin), Devils (Kovalchuk) and Capitals (Ovechkin) players showed up after being eliminated early from the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Lest anyone think I've changed my tune on Filatov, don't be so quick to judge. I've had fun (and more fun) at his expense in the past and will continue to do so when he acts like a petulant teenager. But he's making noises like he's learned a lot (if not been humbled) over the past twelve months. He came to town early to work out with the team - and hopefully to begin mending fences with teammates who rightfully felt abandoned when he hopped a plane to Moscow. He said he wanted to come back to the NHL (and to Columbus) this season, and he's doing just that. And he's 20 years old. At 20 years old, I was an immature jerk, too. I grew a bit since then, and it appears that he is, too. So let's sit back and see how this all plays out...with our arms folded and a skeptical look on our faces, of course.
Let's now move to ice level and consider what Filatov brings to the roster. Barring whatever defensive skills were instilled by Ken Hitchcock (and he has shown flashes at times), Filatov's game is largely as a sniper. Take a look at his second and third of his hat trick goals in January 2009 against Minnesota, and pay close attention to where he shoots from:
"Nikita has to come in here and earn a spot on our hockey team," Arniel said. "There were some ruffled feathers last year by his departure to go back to Russia, and it certainly didn't work out the way he had hoped. He didn't have the success he thought he was going to have and I think he got humbled a little bit by it. I've had a really good talk with him and he wants to play here, he wants to make this work for him. He knows that if he doesn't make the hockey team that he'll go to Springfield (in the American Hockey League). We can use his offense if he comes in and buys in to what everyone else is doing."A little tough love for the kid. Not a bad thing at this point in his career.]
[UPDATE 2: Jeff Rimer interviews Filatov in this "Time to step up" extra post.]