What a fizzle. In a rebuild year, when you would think this team could afford to gamble on the development of a supremely talented player with incredible pedigree, Nikita Filatov was played on the fourth line with Zenon Konopka as his center, given ten minutes of ice time a game, demoted to the AHL twice, healthy scratched numerous times, and now, finally, is being loaned to the KHL, where Senators management has little hope of monitoring his development or deriving any value whatsoever for the third round pick sacrificed to bring him in.
I don’t know, maybe he’s a coke dealer? What other explanation can there be for the fact that Colin Greening starts game after game on Spezza’s wing–even after going on a mind-numbing cold streak–and Filatov is summarily dismissed by team and fan base alike or lacking the finer points of the game? I can accept that perhaps he hasn’t bought into the system enough. I can accept that his attitude might need an adjustment. I know he needs to get stronger, both with and without the puck. He’s not where he needs to be yet. But if he’s still a prospect, how is this not expected?
Multiple sources are reporting that Ottawa plans to qualify him when his entry-level deal expires after this season, but realistically, what signals have been sent that there’s a place for this high-end prospect on the Ottawa Senators’ roster? Do you get the sense that Filatov has been extended even a fraction of the trust the team’s own picks have received?
It seems already that there are players who have earned the benefit of management’s doubt, and Filatov is just not one of them. There might be plenty of reasons why this is the right decision. But hopefully some measure of communication is extended to Senators fans, who were excited to see what an infusion of skill might bring to a team who is still one Michalek or Spezza injury away from basically getting shut out every night.