Take a deep breath Sens fans and head all the way back in time to the 2011-12 season. The team’s leading scorer was Jason Spezza, Erik Karlsson was a fresh-faced 21 year-old and Alfie was still wearing the “C”. The Sens had just acquired Kyle Turris from the Coyotes and were excited to see what youngsters like Karlsson, Turris, Nick Foligno, Jared Cowen, David Rundblad and Nikita Filatov would could do. While Karlsson, Turris and Foligno have all thrived in the NHL, the others… well let’s just say that they haven’t exactly worked out like the Sens has hoped. In the case of Filatov however, no one could have predicted his fall from grace.
Just five years after being selected 6th overall by the Columbus Blue Jackets in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, Filatov was out of the league entirely and playing for his hometown team CSKA Moscow in the KHL. After parts of three middling seasons with the Blue Jackets, the team cut ties with the young Russian and shipped him to Ottawa for a third-round pick.
Filatov would play just 9 games for the Senators franchise scoring 0 goals and 1 assist. In Binghampton with the team’s AHL affiliate, he managed 7 goals and 12 points in 15 games. Still, he tired of the rigours of the NHL and signed an agreement with CSKA Moscow before he was even free of his NHL commitments.
Since then, Filatov has bounced around the KHL and shown the same inconsistency that he did in the NHL. This past season however, he finally fulfilled his potential scoring 19 goals and 40 points in 57 games with Tolyatti Lada. A career high in goals and points for the 27 year-old and good enough for a one year extension.
The tale of Nikita Filatov is full of “WTF?” moments that make you look back and wonder what could have been. All the tools in the world, but no tool box to keep them in. What a shame.