Monday, March 8, 2010

Around the Boards 3/8/10

Today's Question:

Now that Hitch is gone, what do you want to see happen with Nikita Filatov, both this season and going forward?

Should he stay or should he go?

Stick on the Ice:

I think we have to get him a chance, and I believe that for a few reasons. One, if he never plays another minute with the CBJ, it will further any perceptions that Columbus is where young talent comes to practice checking and third line work. This team will be heavily dependent upon youth for at least the next 3-4 years, and that reputation won't help the organization in any regard. Second, it's clear that Filatov has talent -- he's got a goal scorer's instincts, and the last time I looked, we haven't finished in the top half of the league in....forever. Certainly, we've made improvements, but if you get Filatov as part of an effective and consistent second line, then you take a lot of presasure off Nash and the first line. The third reason is that Filatov really hurt his trade value this season -- both for reasons on and off the ice -- and if he doesn't get some exposure to showcase his ability in the NHL, then we'll never get his true value in return in a trade situation. He is the third high-profile Russian we've had on the roster (Federov, Zherdev) and it would be nice to have one work out so that we can get some blog hits from Russia.

No question -- he has to mend some fences. And fast. However, I just think it will ultimately do more damage to the organization if he doesn't come back at all....

Top Shelf:

I get all of SOI's arguments regarding Filatov. Further, I get the impression from the boys at the Dispatch that I should get comfortable with the notion that Filatov may be back in Columbus as early as this season, and definitely next. But I just can't escape the thought that this kid did more than act like a brat to his coach. He quit on his teammates as well. Brassard didn't quit. Russell didn't quit. Jake has worked his ass off all season long. Those young players took everything hitch threw at them and didn't quit. I just feel like if I was on that team I would be hesitant to welcome the kid back.

Pepper Brooks:

There’s no doubt that you have to bring the kid back into the fold next year, that is, if he wants to be here in the first place. Despite being painted as the Anti-Zherdev, he pulled a very Zherdevian move by quitting on his team and his coach. It looks like he may have done the same thing at the World Juniors as he was stripped of his captaincy in the middle of the tournament (although the Russian showing at the Olympics gave a hint that there may be more problems internally than Hockey Russia would like to admit).

Bottom line is, the kid is supremely talented and projected to do great things in the NHL….like it or not, those types of players get a mulligan more often than other guys. He’s too valuable to tell to take a hike and his current trade value isn’t anywhere near where it could be. It would be classic Doug MacLean sell low, buy high….and we all know MacLeananomics do not work in the NHL.

Granted, Filatov is going to have to make good to the organization and his teammates by getting his can to camp nice and early and with a humble attitude (he might want to look up Derick Brassard and say he was sorry for whining to the media as he left), but if he does that he can be a big piece of the CBJ’s ‘season of redemption’ next year.

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