The Columbus Blue Jackets have recalled forward Nikita Filatov from the Syracuse Crunch, the club's American Hockey League affiliate, club General Manager Scott Howson announced January 7.
Filatov, 18, recently tallied 8-3-11, six penalty minutes and was +3 in seven games for Russia at the 2009 World Junior Championships, serving as team captain and finishing among the tournament's top goal scorers (first-tied) and point producers (fourth-tied). He was named to the All-Tournament Team and led Russia to the bronze medal.
Why am I bringing this up? Just before the World Junior Championships, there was a "rumor" (I use this term loosely) said he would join the Sudbury Wolves after the tournament.
This is simply a rumour that I heard from the girl working at the Wolves clothing shop in the mall today. She said that she has heard from a reliable source that Filatov is being sent back to Sudbury after the World Juniors are over. I really hope this is true, It would make sense since Filatov has been stuggling lately and Syracuse has been playing awful. This may be why Lusnak left. Maybe the Wolves told him that he would be traded and he decided to go back home. If the Wolves do get Filatov back, they may want to consider trading him for help next year when they will be in a better position to make a long playoff run.
I don't understand why some Sudbury Wolves fans thought the rumor was true anyway? Have you seen his numbers that he has put up in the AHL? He has 7 goals and 10 assists in 23 games. That's pretty good for a 18-year-old and for good measure he was named to the AHL All-Star game today. I would expect a rookie to have bumps in the road. There was no chance he would find himself in Sudbury.
Finally a news story came out:
Howson says he made no promises to Sudbury that Filatov would end up there and it's looking less and less likely all the time.
"I mean, you never say never," Howson said. "(But) there hasn't been a time where you could say he doesn't fit in (as a pro)."
Filatov says he was willing to play in Sudbury when he was drafted by the Wolves.
"I like the coach and the team," he says. "And sometimes I look to see how they're playing."
Asked if he has considered the idea he could still get sent Sudbury, Filatov laughs and turns the conversation to moving up to Columbus rather than back to junior.
After today's bronze-medal game against Slovakia, Filatov believes his junior days will likely be done.
It's just like the Moncton Wildcats fans who thought they will be getting Viatcheslav Voynov after the World Junior Championships. He returned to the Manchester Monarchs after the World Junior Championship.
Fans also need to realize that it's also a business decision too if they were both sent to juniors. The firsrt year of their contract has already kicked in so the teams basically loose the players for a half of season. They also become a unrestricted free agent a year earlier.
It's not the same situation when junior teams try to get 20 year-olds who started the year in the AHL to rejoin the team for a playoff run. For the most part, those players are on AHL deals and it doesn't cost the AHL teams too much money.
That's My Take
(Nathan also is a writer for Maineiacs Post to Post and the Maine Hockey Journal. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)