For some terrible reason (and I’m assuming it’s that they’re among the worst-run franchises in hockey), when Columbus made final cuts today, it kept eight defensemen. Why? Who knows.
Which would be fine, except these are the players they kept up:
Forwards (13): Rick Nash, R.J. Umberger, Kristian Huselius, Fredrik Modin, Jiri Novotny, Andrew Murray, Jason Chimera, Derick Brassard, Jake Voracek, Alexandre Picard, Michael Peca, Jared Boll and Manny Malhotra
Defensemen (8): Jan Hejda, Mike Commodore, Fedor Tyutin, Rostislav Klesla, Kris Russell, Christian Backman, Ole-Kristian Tollefsen and Marc Methot
Goaltenders (2): Pascal Leclaire, Fredrik Norrena
This means that, among the few remaining cuts was dynamic 18-year-old rookie Nikita Filatov, who has been flat-out incredible in his two games for the Jackets this preseason. On Sunday, for example, he helped Columbus beat the Leafs with a goal in the first period and the shootout winner. Said CBJ coach Ken Hitchcock after that performance:
You can see marked improvement every time (Filatov) steps on the ice. … He’s just scratching the surface on what we think is going to be a heck of a player.
This, for those who haven’t been following the goingson in Columbus particularly closely (and who can blame you?), is because Filatov had a hairline fracture in his leg that prevented him from attending rookie camp or showing up to real camp on time.
It’s unfortunate, especially for those of you who, like me, drafted Filatov for your fantasy team. Seemed like a hell of a late-round pick at the time. Handsy Russians usually do okay in Columbus, and Filatov strikes one as much less of a selfish jerk than, say, Nik Zherdev. The problem, too, is that my league is one that does not allow player movement of any kind. I have nine forwards, three defensemen and two goalies for the whole season, and now one roster spot is wasted on a kid that could spend half the year in Syracuse. Don’t they realize this is costing me money?
I now officially hate the Blue Jackets. Seriously, Marc Methot over this guy? Christ.