|Matt Calvert with RJ Umberger at practice|
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....
ATTA BOY MATT CALVERT!!!!!