Friday, June 01, 2012
Filatov In? Well Sort Of And Why It Makes Sense
To say Nikita Filatov's NHL career so far has been disappointing would be more than fair at this point. The 2008 Draft's 6th overall pick is already out of the NHL after signing a 2 year deal to play in the KHL in Russia this offseason, but does that mean that Filatov's time with the Sens is done forever too?
It would appear to be so at the moment, since the young Russian forward only managed 9 games with the Sens last year after being acquired at the 2011 NHL entry draft last June. He never really found his groove with Ottawa, though I personally don't feel he was ever given the proper chance to succeed either.
Nevertheless, for a scoring forward to maintain a roster spot while only managing one assist in 9 games when he offers little other value to a team other than offense is more than a stretch, especially with all the baggage he brings. But here's why the Sens should and will keep him in the fold, at least technically.
For all the crazy stories and his enigmatic nature, Filatov just turned 22 years old last week (May 25th) and is a restricted free agent. It just makes good business sense for the Sens to hold on to an asset with such potential still, no matter how untapped it may be at the moment.
So what does his RFA status mean to the Senators you may ask? Well to retain his rights they are required to send him a qualifying offer, which I've learned they may already have or at least 100% will. You may be asking what's the point of qualifying a guy who's signed to play in another league for the next two seasons. Isn't it a waste of money and cap space? Let me explain.
Yes it's true that Filatov will play in Russia the next 2 years but at the end of that contract he will only be 24 years old and perhaps he will mature into a different player. That's the Senators hope at least and the hope of Sens fans I'm sure. Here's where it makes sense. The Senators are required to put in the offer but since he has a contract in another league, they won't be required to pay him anything. Putting in the qualifier ensures that should he ever wish to return to the NHL (think Radulov in Nashville), his rights would still belong to Ottawa.
It's a move that seems almost seems like a head scratcher to many at the moment yet won't cost the Senators anything, but a few years down the road could pay off in a big way. To me it's a no brainer to keep a guy with that much raw talent in the fold, especially when it doesn't affect your bottom line. While it's more than likely Filatov will never turn into the player the hockey world once saw so much promise in, keeping his rights never hurts in the miniscule chance he turns it around and becomes an impact player again.
Given the way things have unfolded so far for Filatov I wouldn't be totally surprised. If he's one thing it's unpredictably predictable and worth the ink on the qualifying contract the Sens will offer. The rest is up to him.
Do you think the Sens should have offered him the qualifying offer or just let him walk completely?