Colour me as one of the fans most excited when, on day two of last June's NHL entry draft, Bryan Murray was somehow able to snag talented Russian prospect Nikita Filatov from the Columbus Blue Jackets. He left his family vacation in the Caribbean to come meet with coaches and management and to come to a rookie development camp that he was not obligated to attend.
He came to training camp saying all the right things, happy to be there. He dazzled in the first few preseason games, showing a skating ability that was even better than I could have hoped for. He set up a beautiful Chris Neil goal in a preseason game against Toronto, and despite playing well and having chances on the top line with Jason Spezza, he was unable to score.
Once the season started, things got strange. Filatov was often a healthy scratch and it appeared that head coach Paul MacLean was unhappy with him. When asked about it, coach said other players were improving everyday in practice and Nikita was not.
Eventually Filatov was sent to the minors and played inconsistently. At times, he had no equal on the ice and could score at will. Other times, he was just ok. After putting up 12 points in 15 games with Bingo, he asked to be able to head home to Russia to play in the KHL where he could make more money for his family. The Senators loaned him the CSKA Moscow and he finished his season there.
In recent weeks, we've seen quotes from Pierre Dorian that indicate that the organization is undecided with what to do with Filatov. He still possesses a great skating ability, and good hands. In pre-season he even showed a penchant for back checking with that great speed. Yet he has never put it all together. So, will we ever see him again?
Links after the jump
- Eli Rassi of the Hockey Writers think that the Senators have a "good problem" in goal. With Craig Anderson, Ben Bishop and of course Robin Lehner, the Senators goaltending stable at the pro level is filled with quality talent. [THW]
- For you diehards out there, iTunes apparently has the radio call for the first ever Senators game in modern history, available for 2 dollars. The guys at Welcome to Your Karlsson Years take us on a trip down memory lane. [WTYKY]
- Nichols with some solid insight into a recent healthy scratches interview with Alfie. It sounds like he is leaning towards playing and the only thing holding him back is that he misses being with his family. Reading that they support him makes me think we might just get one more year. [6thSens]
- Sens continue getting some of their paperwork done by signing Darren Kramer and Jakob Culek to their entry level deals. Culek has been a bit of a disappointment since being drafted in the third round a few years ago, but he has a good frame, and here's hoping he's a late bloomer. [Panzeri]
- Always looking on the bright side, Sun media has decided this is the worst Stanley Cup Final in 20 years! Apparently the author of this article has never watched the Kings. [Sun]
- The always funny Harrison Mooney has written a slightly different take on the recent Conn Smythe hopeful articles that have been popular recently. Here are his Non-Smythe nominees. I disagree with Jeff Carter, I think he's played quite well. [PuckDaddy]
- Last season Pete Deboer was answering for another season in which the Florida Panthers missed the playoffs. This year, he is in the Stanley Cup Final. Not bad. Turns out his new team embraced him quickly. [NHL.com]
- There are 4 Kings who have lost the Cup final before, and they are each hoping for a different result this time. [NHL.com]
- Lastly, get ready to be inundated with a crap load of Rick Nash rumours between now and the day he is traded. Its now open season. [PuckDaddy]