Mike was able to weigh in with his very solid opinion on the Filatov situation and I thought I'd weigh in with a post of my own. There will be similarities from Mike's but also differences. We are not clones. In the honor of SNL, Mike you ignorant slut.
Not a big deal.
Wait what is that you say? You have got to be kidding me. Fire Hitch. Fire Howson.
It's not a big deal.
You are short sighted and this will hurt Filatov in the team in the long run.
It's not a big deal.
Here are the facts. Nikita Filatov is not the difference between playoffs and no playoffs. Cup run vs. no cup run. For all intents and purposes he is a non-factor for us this year.
But what about Tavaras, Stamkos, Kane,..... Filatov has to be better than them right?
It could be argued, but sure Filatov is better than those players, but tell me which of the Islanders, Lightning, Thrashers, are better than the Blue Jackets.
Filatov is not one of the best 4 wings on the team. He might not even be one of the best 6, so why play him as if he is such. Tavaras is one of the best wings. Stamkos is the 2nd best center, as is Kane. I will admit, if Filatov were on another team, a lesser team, the 03-04 Blue Jackets, he would be playing 13-15 a night. He would be one of the best young players in the league.
So why is this not a big deal?
Filatov is the same person he was yesterday. The same player with the same skills. The positive is that he has trade value. Really decent trade value. His trade value is the same as if he played here the rest of the year. For the next 2-3 years Filatov's value to this team might only be trade value. We can move him at the deadline. Move him tomorrow. Move him at the draft. The value does not diminish. Zherdev's value pretty much bottomed out and we were able to get Fedor Tyutin. Filatov's value would be far past this. If we move him at the deadline for Tomas Kaberle, who would be complaining? If we flipped him to the Islanders for a 1st round pick +, who would be complaining? His value is still the same.
So the heat on Hitch?
I can sense it, and I'm not going to defend Hitch, I'm not sure what his relationship with Filatov is, but I will not endorse him sacrificing wins for Filatov's development. No way. This is how Hitch sees it, the hardest part for Hitch is though is that he wants to WIN EVERY SHIFT. We are better off at our stage in our development to have this mentality. If we were say in the San Jose world of development, you can run Filatov out there because, hey you know we are in the playoffs. If you are in the New York Islanders world of development you can run Filatov out there because, hey lets sell some jerseys.
Heat on Howson?
Maybe some, I think he has been overly hesitant to not include Filatov in trade talks. He's always mentioned him with the untouchables. He needed to see this as a possible scenario down the pike. Half of CBJ faithful did. Maybe I'm wrong, maybe Howson feels differently than I suspect.
Heat on Filatov?
1)He's 19 years old and living far away from home, earning 800K a year, getting about 6 minutes of ice and contributing 0 to the team. He could do this or
2)He could be 19 years old, be a local celeb, earn 3-4 million a year, get 20 minutes of ice time, and be a heart and soul player on a team.
Truth be told I'd have a hard time turning down option 2.
Filatov wants to be a NA hockey player and he likely will be better next camp than he is right now. Even if he is on the team at that time.
Why isn't Filatov not in the AHL? Because (assumption) Filatov has already made it crystal clear it is NHL or Russia. This ultimately is not the type of attitude we need right now. He said in camp getting minutes shouldn't be an issue because he knows what he can do. He hasn't shown it. Not in practice either. No player can dictate how much time they should be playing. No player is bigger than the team and no player is bigger than winning.
He can be a good player for us next year or he can help acquire a good player for us. Either way I'm happy. Outside of a few, I look at players like real estate. Sell high.
Ultimately I'm not mad at any party in this case. It is a situation that we will move past. It is not a big deal.