OTTAWA, CANADA - NOVEMBER 4: Nikita Filatov #21 of the Ottawa Senators prepares for a faceoff against the Montreal Canadiens during an NHL game at Scotiabank Place on November 4, 2011 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images)
Many are reporting that, for the second time in three seasons, left winger Nikita Filatov has been loaned from his NHL team in order to join CSKA Moscow of the Continental Hockey League (KHL). His NHL rights remain with the Ottawa Senators.
The sixth-overall draft pick from the 2008 NHL Entry Draft was acquired by the Senators from the Columbus Blue Jackets this off-season, but played just nine games (and a combined 88 minutes, 22 seconds of ice time) with Ottawa over the course of several call-ups, notching one assist in that time. He also played 15 games with the AHL's Binghamton Senators, netting 12 points (7G, 5A) over those matches.
During Filatov's most recent assignment to the Binghamton Senators, rumours came out that the 21-year-old wanted to return to Russia to play for CSKA. Shortly after the rumours came up, Ottawa re-called Filatov and played him in three more NHL games (although he didn't play much in one of those due to a skate to the face), but was scratched for five straight games after those ones. He's now been loaned to CSKA to play in the KHL.
This was similar in some ways to Filatov's 2009-10 season, in which he was regularly a healthy scratch in the first portion of the Blue Jackets' season, before requesting (and being granted) a transfer back to the KHL.
Filatov's future in the NHL is very much unclear at this moment. Although it's hard to blame him for choosing the relative comfort of his hometown team over the Binghamton Senators, few NHL teams will be eager to extend an opportunity to a 22-year-old who's already left North America twice in his short pro career.
If Filatov does return to the NHL, though, the Senators still retain his rights. Senators GM thinks that Filatov can become an NHL player, but he needs to get stronger. He's also said he plans on tendering a qualifying offer to the pending restricted free agent, so Filatov's rights will remain with the Senators past this season.