Judging by Pierre Dorion's politically correct but lukewarm response to a question posed by Steve Lloyd during an interview last week, it's no surprise to learn that the likelihood of Nikita Filatov returning to Ottawa would essentially be limited to him posing as an Arya Stark doppleganger at next year's Ottawa Comiccon.
On whether or Ottawa would like to bring Filatov back, Dorion said this:
"It’s something that we’ve discussed internally. It depends on the circumstances that Nikita would have to come over and not having probably a spot on our team, would not make sense for him. I’m not saying that he would have to play in the minors but it’s something that we would have to look at the whole big picture with Nikita, and then make a decision from there."
This morning's news certainly has to make one wonder whether the Senators will even bother tending Filatov a qualifying offer.May 14, 2012
Update: 8:15 am - According to Salavat Yulaev's website, Filatov signed a two-year contract with the team.
According to Capgeek, to retain Filatov's NHL rights the Senators would have to qualify him with an offer of $826,875. Because his base salary of $787,500 is greater than $660,000 and less than $1,000,000, it is increased by 5 percent for the purposes of his qualifying offer.
Perhaps more importantly, the qualifying offer would not even have to be a one-way contract offer because Filatov: didn't appear in 180 or more NHL games in his previous three seasons; appear in 60 or more NHL games the previous season; and didn't clear waivers during the previous season.
On the surface, it seems like an easy decision to qualify the player just so that the Senators could retain his rights. But honestly, would anyone blame them if they didn't?
As one of two gambles, Matt Gilroy being the other, that never really paid dividends last season, the likelihood of Filatov accepting a two-way contract to compete with prospects and other organizational players who have passed him on the depth chart is unlikely. But assuming he did accept Ottawa's offer, his contractual agreement would go towards the NHL's mandated 50 contract reserve limit. (In other words, every NHL organization is permitted to have only 50 players signed to NHL contracts at a time - this includes prospects, minor league players on two-way deals and et cetera.)
From being the sixth overall selection in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft to a player who might not even be worth qualifying because Ottawa could afford to give one of those 50 contracts to someone else, the Nikita Filatov era everyone!
In fairness to the player, I certainly can't fault Filatov for the incessant phone calls from the KHL's CSKA last season, offering him more significantly more money than the $65,000 that he was earning in Binghamton at the time. Coupled with an opportunity to be closer to his friends and family and play hockey in a culture that he's familiar and comfortable with, even Daniel Alfredsson told reporters that were he in the same shoes, he probably would have left for the KHL too. Unfortunately, it's just the reality of the situation that an alternative like the KHL provides.
Doug MacLean Says Alfie Owes Ottawa Another Year
From today's Ottawa Sun:
“This is with all due respect to Alfredsson. I know what a great, character guy he has been and what a great leader he is,” said MacLean. “They’re sitting there wondering if he’s coming back and if he doesn’t, they have a $4.5-million cap hit. I just don’t know about that.
“In my opinion, he owes them another year and, unfortunately, (the Senators) have nothing to say about it. He can retire, I guess. Who knows? Maybe that’s the way the contract was structured.”Fuck that nonsense.
As outlined in one of my favorite pieces that has appeared on this website, here's a brief blurb on what Daniel Alfredsson has meant to the Senators:
By the time that he had finally rid himself of the injury bug in 2001-02, the Senators had augmented their roster and identity through trades and the NHL Entry Draft. With players like Mike Fisher, Marian Hossa, Wade Redden and Chris Phillips and Martin Havlat, Ottawa's blueprint for success had finally manifested itself. As Ottawa continued to win, Alfredsson was often just seen as one part in the whole. For years, he had developed a dressing room reputation as a leader who set an example for others through his play. Off the ice, he came across the same way. Content just to stay out of the public eye and let his younger teammates enjoy the limelight that came with being a winning team in a Canadian market. Ottawa quickly became regarded by pundits as a model small market franchise that had built itself the right way. (Ed. note: Remember, this was before the days of Eugene Melnyk's financial certainty and the NHL salary cap. Without the finances to buy a winner, Ottawa was at a competitive disadvantage.)
It was this disadvantage that eventually lead to Alfredsson doing the most selfless thing that he could do. With the team on the verge of financial ruin in 2003, the captain deferred the remainder of his salary to allow the team to add some pieces at the trade deadline and improve their odds at a Stanley Cup. Even when his most recent cap friend contract expired, he has continued to embrace his unselfish role. By signing another cap friendly extension and using his own home as a hotel for Erik Karlsson, Alfredsson continues to demonstrate that he's willing to do whatever it takes to make his team and teammates better.
And maybe that's what makes Alfredsson so special. For a franchise that has repeatedly been let down by players over the years -- Yashin, Hasek, Redden vs Chara, and Heatley -- I appreciate watching a player who genuinely looks as though he cares about something other than his statistics, ice-time or paycheck.Alfie doesn't owe this organization a thing.