Sunday, June 26, 2011

Filatov Irrelevant for the Future of the CBJ

Matt Calvert with RJ Umberger at practice
Nikita Filatov has magical skill.  I remember watching him in practice once near the end of training camp last year, taking passes out near the blue line, and calmly inserting one timers into the top corner of the net.  Unbelievable.  But you never seemed to see that skill come out in a game situation, except the night long ago when he scored his hat trick.

At the end of the day, Filtov was done in by the work ethic and competitive desire of Matt Calvert.  There is only so much room on an NHL team for an undersized skill player.  When you have to choose between one who evidences hustle and desire at every turn, and one who views the NHL as an entitlement, you are nearly always going to choose the former, all other things equal.  But, things weren't equal.  Matt Calvert played better at the NHL level, as is evidenced by their comparative stats from last year.

Name                GP     G     A    Pt      +/-
Matt Calvert      42    11    9    20      3
Nikita Filatov     23     0      7     7       3

Matt Calvert was clearly the better player at the NHL Level.  I think he fits in better with the character of the team.  This is not to say that I had given up on Filatov.  I was thinking the other day how cool it would be if you got a little magic going between him and Ryan Johannsen.  But, in the end, according to Puck Daddy Filatov wanted out of the Columbus organization, and asked for a trade.

Filatov has the skill to make it happen at the NHL level.  I don't think he has the mental fortitude to run an 82 game marathon in 45 second sprints.  He's only 21, and that is mighty young.  Filatov is one of the players who stands to benefit the most from the headshot ban, as he got his bell rung over in Sweden (or at least he couldn't eat for 3 days after getting his jaw jacked by some Shark), and ultimately sustained a concussion last year in Springfield.  So he is a good choice for Ottawa, a low risk, high reward choice.

But as Filatov had clearly given up on Columbus, for our collective failure to worship his indifferent performance, it is probably the best thing for all involved.  Given his lack of proven ability, a third round pick is probably as good as Howson could have gotten.  In the end, I am okay with it.

I will enjoy watching Matt Calvert in the upcoming year.  He still has his work cut out for him at the NHL level, and I wouldn't really regard it as a shock if Matt spends some time in the AHL.  But there won't be any 'what ifs' about his game.  You'll get to see what he has.

Best of luck on that maturation thing Nicky.  I hope it goes well for you.  Its not an easy road for anyone.

And, to close, as I so frequently yelled late last year....



  1. I’m probably the one Jacket fan you’ll find who will defend Filatov, and I’m glad to see him landing with a team I can tolerate (I went to my first NHL game in Ottawa, after all). Clearly there are issues, but I think a significant portion of them come from Columbus.

    I don’t feel like Filatov was put in a place that worked in Columbus – he is not designed to be a 3rd/4th line player, and he had a minimal number of minutes to play. And that’s where he was stuck. Neither Hitch nor Arniel seemed willing to give the kid more time or move him up. Of course, the lack of production from no time meant less time. Even more problematic, he never really got on the powerplay, which is totally baffling. The kid is at the absolute least a powerplay specialist.

    Filatov is a sniper and not a checking line player. You don’t put him out to shut somebody down. You put him out knowing that he might end up on for a goal against. However, you put him out with the best players as often as possible to score goals. Most importantly, you need him out for powerplay time. That never happened when Filatov was with the Jackets. It’s no wonder the kid was so perplexed by the Columbus coaches and GM.

    I look forward to seeing Filatov succeed in the NHL – and that’s something I think he can do with the Sens current scoring situation - he's almost certain to end up on a scoring line, which is where he belongs. If Ottawa's coaching can manage to get Spezza and Filatov out at the same time for even a few minutes, I suspect both players with thrive. Yeah he can be a headcase, but he has such amazing talent. I hope the Sens fans enjoy seeing Filatov play. It's just a shame he won't break out with the Jackets.

  2. Zekebud -
    I really agree with a lot of what you say. The problem is though, Nikita quit shooting the puck during those 23 games. That goose egg on goals is partly due to lack of shooting. If you are a sniper, trying to earn playing time on the log jammed left wing of the CBJ, you need to shoot the puck. Just checked the stats. He took 31 shots in 23 games. That adds up to about 125 over the season, as compared to Nash's 305.

    I'm with you, and hope that he can work out with Ottawa. I'm glad we have a lower round pick (Matt Calvert) showing some of the things we need to see to cover for this first round draft bust (with the CBJ).

  3. In my view the problem was entirely Filatov, acting like a prima donna and never having the will to go into the tough areas. Talent has has by the boatload, but I can't see him making it in Ottawa either. A 3rd rounder was possibly more then he was worth.

  4. This post demonstrates precisely why the draft is seven rounds and not just one, especially when you're drafting 18-year-olds who have years to develop before having a shot at challenging for the NHL roster.

  5. And that’s where he was stuck. Neither Hitch nor Arniel seemed willing to give the kid more time or move him up.

    Disagree. Arniel gave him the spot on the #2 line out of camp this past season. As Gallos points out, he did nothing with it. Granted, he was stuck with two other young guys trying to find their way, but it's not as if Arniel stapled him to the bench like Hitch did.

    Yeah, Nikki never played in the third period of close games, and I agree he didn't get as much PP time as he should have, but to say he was never given ANY shot here is a bit of a stretch to me.


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