Senators assign Filatov to KHL team

It appears the short-lived Nikita Filatov experiment is over for the Ottawa Senators.

Senators assign Filatov to KHL team
Kyle Turris #7 of the Ottawa Senators scores during the shootout against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the game at Consol Energy Center on April 13, 2014 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Senators defeated the Penguins 3-2 in a shootout. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

The short-lived Nikita Filatov experiment is over for the Ottawa Senators.

Ottawa Senators general manager Bryan Murray confirmed Monday morning that the team has loaned the talented, underachieving winger to Central Red Army of the KHL.

“After a fair amount of discussion with him we had a determination whether to move him back to Binghamton or go over to play in the KHL and his preference was to go home for the balance of the year, so we made an agreement with them to have that happen,” Murray said.

Murray was asked why Filatov couldn’t make it with the Senators.

“You have to look at his games,” the general manager explained. “We think he’s a very talented kid, but he played some nights and other nights, couldn’t contribute very much. I think he has to get stronger, we know he has to get stronger and be a little more competitive.”

This is the second gamble with the Columbus Blue Jackets that has come up snake eyes for Ottawa general manager Bryan Murray.

A few seasons ago, he dealt popular centre Antoine Vermette for talented-yet-brittle goalie Pascal Leclaire, who spent much of his time with the Senators on injured reserve.

Ottawa traded a third round draft pick this summer for Filatov, for former sixth-overall NHL draft pick (2008) who had underwhelmed in limited work at the NHL level.

The hope was that Filatov might thrive with a change of scenery, but never did establish himself here after running afoul of head coach Paul MacLean early in the season.

Instead, he spent most of the season in the AHL and played limited minutes when he was called up to the big club. Filatov finished this NHL season with just one assist in nine games.

Often relegated to the fourth line, Filatov averaged just 9:49 of ice time per game.

According to Murray, however, it was a good gamble and one that hasn’t played out completely just yet.

He didn’t rule out making a qualifying offer to Filatov this spring to retain the winger’s rights.

Coach Paul MacLean dismissed suggestions that Filatov didn’t get a fair shake here.

“He was in the lineup lots and got to play with our best players and the dimension he brought to our team was skill and creating offence and that didn’t happen often enough,” he said.

“He didn’t have an attitude, no, I thought he worked really diligently…without the puck, we didn’t really have any questions about that, it was the fact, the fact for me, was his dimension with the puck in the American League was something that was noticeable and that’s what he brought. We just didn’t get that here.”

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Other news and notes from Senators practice today:

— Murray said prospect defenceman Patrick Wiercioch, who was hit in the throat by a slap shot over the weekend, is resting up in hospital and is expected to make a full recovery.

— Assistant coach Mark Reeds took a puck to the face during the skate and had to leave for stitches. “Just a bo-bo, he’ll be alright,” according to MacLean.

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