|Born||May 25, 1990 |
Moscow, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
|Height||6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)|
|Weight||190 lb (86 kg; 13 st 8 lb)|
|KHL team (P)
|Salavat Yulaev Ufa|
Toros Neftekamsk (VHL)
Columbus Blue Jackets
Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod
|NHL Draft||6th overall, 2008|
Columbus Blue Jackets
Nikita Filatov (born Nikita Vasilyevich Filatov on May 25, 1990) is a Russian professional ice hockey left winger currently playing for Salavat Yulaev Ufa of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL).
Nikita played minor and junior hockey in the CSKA Red Army hockey system from the age of 13. At the age of 15 during the 2005–06 season, he made his debut for CSKA-2—the club's junior team—where he continued to play during the 2006–07 season, and averaged more than three points per game.
In the same season, he made his international debut for Russia at the World Under 18 Championship.
During the 2007–08 season, Nikita made his professional Russian Superleague (RSL) debut with CSKA, seeing limited action in five games. He spent the majority of the season playing at the junior level in Russia. With his CSKA junior team, Filatov played in 23 games, scoring 23 goals and providing 24 assists.
Leading up to the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, the League's annual meeting at which the rights to amateur players are divided among teams, NHL's Central Scouting Bureau, ranked Nikita as the top European skater in their mid-term and final rankings.
After the 2007–08 season, he was subsequently selected sixth overall at the Draft by the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Nikita was also the first overall selection in the 2008 Canadian Hockey League Import Draft, selected by the Sudbury Wolves of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL). Sudbury General Manager Mike Foligno was comfortable with the risks of not knowing whether he would play at junior or professional level when he came to North America.
The Blue Jackets General Manager Scott Howson would not guarantee Filatov a place on their team, saying, "We've already told Nikita that we'll see how things go in training camp and we'll decide what's best for him."
After being drafted by the Blue Jackets, Nikita signed a three-year contract with the club on July 10, 2008. His base salary for the contract was $875,000, with bonus clauses that could bring the value as high as $1.35 million per season.
His signing with Columbus created some controversy within the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL), however, as League President Alexander Medvedev claimed that the Blue Jackets owed CSKA Moscow compensation of at least $1.5 million for signing Filatov.
Medvedev claimed that although the term of the contract had expired, under Russian law it did not terminate until an indemnity amount had been negotiated.
The Blue Jackets and Nikita believed that giving his club 30 days notice was sufficient to terminate the contract. CSKA threatened to withhold his transfer card, thus impeding his ability to play in another league, but Nikita, his lawyers and the Blue Jackets believed they had followed the necessary tenets of Russian law.
Nikita's contract was one of six reviewed by the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) in an attempt to mediate the disputes between the KHL and NHL.
During this investigation, the players were unable to play international hockey sanctioned by the IIHF. In September, the KHL dropped its opposition to Nikita's contract with the Blue Jackets, and he received his transfer.
Nikita didn't make the team after attending training camp with the Blue Jackets, instead making his North American professional debut for the Blue Jackets' American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, the Syracuse Crunch.
On October 15, 2008, Nikita was called up to the NHL, playing in his first game and scoring his first goal with the Blue Jackets on October 17 against the Nashville Predators.
For the rest of the 2008–09 season, he split time between the AHL and the NHL. He played eight games with the Blue Jackets, finishing the season with four goals. He became the first Blue Jackets rookie to record a hat-trick in the January 10, 2009, game against the Minnesota Wild.
At the end of the season, he had played 39 games with the Crunch in the AHL, scoring 16 goals and 16 assists. For his performances, he was named as a starter for the PlanetUSA team in the 2009 AHL All-Star Game.
At the start of the 2009–10 season, Nikita made the Blue Jackets roster after training camp. Although healthy, he did not play in six of the team's first 18 games, a decision made by Columbus Head Coach Ken Hitchcock.
He was unhappy with his playing time and role on the team under Hitchcock and requested to be transferred back to his Russian club team. Hitchcock and the Blue Jackets coaching staff tried to improve his attention to defensive aspects of the game.
The Blue Jackets management agreed to Nikita's request to return to Russia for the remainder of the season.
This arrangement resulted from direct dealings between the Blue Jackets and CSKA Moscow, where Nikita's salary was paid by the Russian club, and the Blue Jackets retained his rights. Shortly after his return to Russia, he set a KHL record by scoring the game-winning goal in three consecutive games.
Nikita was named the League's best newcomer (defined by the KHL as "a player born in 1987 or later, who has played no more than 20 top-level matches in previous national tournaments") for November, and the League's best rookie for the 11th week of the season. In his shortened season in Russia, he played 26 games, scoring nine goals and adding 13 assists.
Initial statements by both sides indicated Nikita would return to Columbus after the 2009–10 season, but since returning to Russia, he has been less clear about his intentions for the 2010–11 season, stating, "I hope I'll be back next year, but right now, it's really hard to say because it will again be a tough decision."
Howson did not comment on Nikita's stance, except to say that he expects him to be at the team's training camp prior to the 2010–11 season. Subsequently, Nikita stated after the 2009–10 season that he intended to return to Columbus for training camp.
During the off-season, the Blue Jackets sent Development Coach Tyler Wright to Russia to train with Filatov to assess his readiness for the upcoming season, and to communicate the team's desire to work with him.
Blue Jackets Head Coach Scott Arniel was pleased to see Filatov arrive in Columbus six weeks ahead of the team's 2010–11 season, allowing him a chance to mend relationships with his teammates who may have been annoyed by Filatov's departure.
Howson said the team never doubted his skill, saying: "Nikita has the skill and the ability to play in a top-six role.
Arniel was optimistic about Nikita's return to the team, offering him a clean slate and a chance to earn a spot on one of the team's top two lines.
After speaking with his friend Sergei Shirokov (who played for Arniel on the Manitoba Moose), Nikita was optimistic about working with Columbus's new head coach. He began the season with the Blue Jackets at the NHL level and recorded seven assists in 23 games.
In December of 2010, Nikita was demoted to the AHL and spent the remainder of the season with the Springfield Falcons. With the Falcons, he played in 36 games, scoring nine goals and adding 11 assists.
At the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, Columbus severed their ties with Nikita, trading him to the Ottawa Senators in exchange for a third-round pick. He left his family vacationing in the Dominican Republic and joined the Senators for their development camp at Scotiabank Place in Ottawa.
Nikita made the Senators out of training camp, but was a healthy scratch several times, splitting his time with Ottawa and the Binghamton Senators of the AHL.
In November of 2011, the Ottawa Citizen's Allen Panzeri reported from sources in Columbus that Nikita had refused to play the style the Blue Jackets asked of him, saying to his coach, "Filly [Filatov] don't do rebounds."
In December, the Senators offered Nikita the choice to play the rest of the season with CSKA Moscow of the KHL and Filatov agreed.
Senators General Manager Bryan Murray suggested it was better for his development as Murray felt that Nikita needed to work on becoming stronger and compete harder to make it in the NHL. Head Coach Paul MacLean felt his struggles in the NHL were surprising, considering he had 12 points in 15 games in the AHL. Nikita himself stated that he had to get better.
MacLean had hoped that Nikita would have stayed and worked on his game in Binghamton, but Murray explained that it was more lucrative for him to play in the KHL than at Binghamton, and did not block the transfer.
Nikita did not immediately agree to terms with CSKA. For a few days, it appeared that he would not sign a contract with CSKA, so the Senators assigned him to Binghamton and threatened to suspend him in order to remove him from the Senators' salary cap. On December 18, 2011, he agreed to a contract with CSKA Moscow.
Despite Nikita leaving for the KHL, the Senators still had hopes to develop him. His contract was ready to expire in June 2012, and the Senators planned to make a qualifying contract offer to him to retain his NHL rights.
However, in May 2012, Nikita chose to stay in the KHL and agreed to a one-year contract with Salavat Yulaev Ufa. After he signed with Salavat Yulaev, the Senators chose to not make the offer, making him an unrestricted free agent.
After three seasons in the NHL, Nikita left with only six goals and eight assists in 53 NHL games. Stephen Whyno of The Globe and Mail identified him as one of the top five biggest "draft busts" in recent NHL history. Hockey's Future also rated him a bust.
In the 2012–13 season, he played in 47 games with Salavat Yulaev, scoring ten goals and adding 11 assists. He remained with Salavat for the 2013–14 season.
Following the 2017–18 season in which Nikita split between HC Lada Togliatti and HC Neftkhimik Nizhnekamsk, he left as a free agent in the off-season and continued his journeyman career in the KHL by agreeing to a one-year deal with HC Spartak Moscow on June 4, 2018.
In the 2018–19 season, Nikita made a positive start to the campaign, posting 8 points in 15 games with Spartak before he was traded in a return to Salavat Yulaev Ufa in exchange for Artyom Fyodorov on November 16, 2018.
Regular season and playoffs
|2008–09||Columbus Blue Jackets||NHL||8||4||0||4||0||—||—||—||—||—|
|2009–10||Columbus Blue Jackets||NHL||13||2||0||2||8||—||—||—||—||—|
|2010–11||Columbus Blue Jackets||NHL||23||0||7||7||8||—||—||—||—||—|
|2012–13||Salavat Yulaev Ufa||KHL||47||10||11||21||24||13||3||3||6||6|
|2013–14||Salavat Yulaev Ufa||KHL||35||13||7||20||18||5||1||0||1||0|
|2014–15||Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod||KHL||38||4||11||15||14||4||0||1||1||2|
|2018–19||Salavat Yulaev Ufa||KHL||7||0||0||0||0||—||—||—||—||—|
|Competitor for Template:Country data RUS|
|World Junior Championship|
|Bronze||2008 Czech Republic|
|IIHF U18 Championship|
Nikita has played extensively for Russia's national teams in under-18 and under-20 tournaments. His first IIHF competition for Russia was the 2007 U18 Championship held in the Finnish cities of Rauma and Tampere. Russia won a gold medal in that tournament.
As an underaged player, Nikita contributed four goals and five assists in seven games. He led the Russian team in total points and was second to Alexei Cherepanov in goals scored.
After this tournament, Russia's coaches named him as one of the team's three best players.
Nikita also played at the 2008 U18 Championship held in his native Russia, in Kazan. Filatov captained the team to a silver medal, scoring three goals and adding six assists. He was named to the Tournament All-Star Team.
At the 2008 World Junior Championship in Pardubice and Liberec, Czech Republic, Filatov made his debut with Russia's under-20 junior squad. At the tournament, he scored four goals and added five assists, leading the Russian squad in total points and placing second to Viktor Tikhonov in goals scored.
The Russian team captured bronze at the tournament after defeating the United States 4–2. Filatov scored two goals in the bronze medal game and was named Russia's best player of the game by the IIHF.
The AHL's Syracuse Crunch released Nikita to participate in the 2009 World Junior Championship held in Ottawa.
He served as Russia's captain for the tournament. In seven games at the tournament, he scored eight goals and added three assists, which tied him for fourth in tournament scoring. The Russian team again captured the bronze medal, this time by defeating Slovakia 5–2.
Nikta was named best player of the game for a preliminary round game against Finland and for the bronze medal game against Slovakia and he was named to the Tournament All-Star Team.
After returning to Russia early in the 2009–10 season, he had the opportunity to compete in a third World Junior Championship at the 2010 tournament held in Saskatoon and Regina. As in 2009, he served as Russia's team captain.
During preliminary round play, Nikita was named best player for Russia in their game against Finland. However, the tournament was a disappointment for the Russians after they lost to Switzerland in the quarterfinals.
Prior to the fifth place game against the Czech Republic, he was stripped of his captaincy and replaced by teammate Kirill Petrov after criticizing the team personnel during a media scrum.
After participating in three World Junior Ice Hockey Championships, Nikita is tied with Evgeny Kuznetsov as Russia's all-time leading scorer at the event—both forwards finished their junior careers with 26 points.
|World U18 Championships Top Three Player for Team Russia||2007|
|World U18 Championships Tournament All Star Team||2008|
|World Junior Championships Player of the Game||2008 vs. United States\2009 vs. Finland\2009 vs. Slovakia|
|World Junior Championships Tournament All Star Team||2009|
|KHL Rookie of the Week||Week of November 22, 2009|
|KHL Best Newcomer of the Month||November 2009|
The scouting reports on Filatov were mixed in advance of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft.
Sergei Nemchinov (the head coach of Russia's national junior team) said, "He definitely has an NHL upside because he can score, is a well-rounded player and is responsible in the defensive zone."
Independent scouting service Red Line Report at one point declared him "the next best thing to Steven Stamkos" (who was eventually selected first overall in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft).
The NHL's Director of European Scouting, Goran Stubb, assessed Filatov's NHL readiness as, "Nikita is a leader, has a great attitude, an excellent work ethic and tons of talent."
Other scouts were not as impressed with Nikita's defensive game, preferring to focus on his offensive abilities.
Off the ice, he does not train in a traditional gym or weight room, preferring to run outside in sand and lift objects such as trees and boulders.
Nikita was born in Moscow, Russia, to parents Vasiliy and Yelena. He speaks fluent English due in large part to his mother (an English teacher) who used to give him lessons at home.
When he began playing professional hockey in North America for Syracuse, Nikita's mother stayed for several weeks to help him get acclimated to his new surroundings.