The Sports Daily > The 6th Sens
Eastern Promises

Dmitri Chesnokov is on a bit of a roll lately for imparting some badly needed Senators news to the masses during these dreadfully monotonous times. First there was his translation of a Russian interview with Alexei Kovalev that threw Cory Clouston and the local media under the bus. Now comes news that Nikita Filatov has been promised certain things by Ottawa management.

According to Puck Daddy’s Russian correspondent (@dchesnokov), “Nikita Filatov tells SovSport he was promised a 1st or a 2nd line spot as well as PP time after a talk with #Sens GM

Those Russian papers, they always make up get the best quotes.

At his first Ottawa media availability in between disarming predictable bait, Filatov remarked that playing in Binghamton was something that hadn’t crossed his mind. Take that for what it’s worth, but as CKSA President Slava Fetisov intoned last week; We respect his decision, but remind you that forward Nikita back at any time. Leverage I assumed to exist spelled out as such.

I found the SovSport article that Chesnokov was referring to and while there was no mention of Bryan Murray that Chesnokov alluded to. I’m left to believe that the ‘alleged’ promise is featured within the video interview that accompanies the article. So if you speak Russian, by all means have at it – link

Filatov did however mention that he found out about his trade to Ottawa on the internet and that when he met with the organization, they told him that the trade was influenced by Paul MacLean – who had seen him play in several games against his Red Wings. So there’s that… Nikita’s admission (via his agent) that the Senators had expressed interest in him prior to the trade is also noteworthy. Whether that interest went back days or years isn’t clear – certainly makes you wonder if those Filatov for Brian Lee rumours were legit.

Nonetheless, getting back to Chesnokov’s Twitter reference – would it surprise me if some context was lost in translation during Nikita’s exit interview with Bryan?

Absolutely not.

Nor would it surprise me if some 13-year old girl confused Nikita by posing as Bryan Murray on the young forward’s Formspring account.

What’s transparent from this situation is that with a lack of highly skilled forwards amidst Ottawa’s forward ranks, assuming that his work ethic isn’t questionable, Filatov should be afforded opportunity to exhaust his options prove that he can be a top six forward in the NHL. Or at the very least, demonstrate that he produce well enough to become a saleable asset – whether it’s a one-for-one trade or as part of a bigger trade package – that allows the organization to recoup a better return than it gave up (a third rounder) to bring him into the fold.

As Hockey Prospectus’ Corey Pronman noted on Twitter (@coreypronman), Paul MacLean and the coaching staff can help insulate whatever defensive shortcomings Filatov has by giving him second line minutes and very soft zone starts/qual comp wise. In other words, at even strength Filatov should receive favorable zone starts by putting him on the ice before faceoffs within the offensive zone. By using him in these in low leverage situations, there’s less risk a player like Filatov to get hemmed into the defensive zone.

Your move Sergei. Which line would you place Filatov on to start the season?