The departure of Nikita Filatov to CSKA Moscow of the KHL wasn’t entirely a shock considering his lacklustre play in Ottawa and his open desire to never set foot in Binghamton again. General Manager Bryan Murray made a low-risk gamble with the streaky winger, giving up a 3rd round pick to the Blue Jackets in order to acquire the 21-year-old former first rounder; the verdict on whether Filatov will ever be able to recapture what made him a sixth overall pick in 2008 is undecided.
Murray called the move a “loan”, but like the situation the Nashville Predators faced in 2008 with Alexander Radulov leaving for “better conditions”, the possibility of permanently losing a young forward for nothing is very real.
But don’t look for the Senators won’t trade his rights away: Ottawa was one of the only teams willing to take a chance on the streaky winger. Also, this is not the first time that Filatov has retreated to Russia; in 2009, he was loaned to CSKA Moscow by the Blue Jackets. For Filatov, his sojourn to the homeland may be his last chance to get his act together. The NHL is rife with players getting second chances, but the shelf life of underperforming young Russian players is very short (see: Alexander Svitov).
Whatever happens, sacrificing a draft pick that would have a 23.5% chance of playing even 100 NHL games for a chance with a potential game-breaking player is not the end of the world. These are the kinds of moves that build contenders.