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Nikita Filatov plans to return for Blue Jackets camp

Great news for the Columbus Blue Jackets, although this certainly wasn’t much of a surprise. Yet we have confirmation, from Nikita Filatov himself, that the young prospect will be back for Blue Jackets training camp this summer. From Aaron Portzline of the Puck-Rakers Blog:

“Yes, I’m sure I’ll come for training camp,” Filatov said.

Some questioned what the coaching change might mean for Filatov, but he says it was never a factor:

“The coaching change doesn’t mean much for me,” Filatov said. “Anyway, I was going to be back. When I left (in November), I said I was coming back, and that was no matter who the coach will be.”

The original arrangement between the Blue Jackets and CSKA Moscow always had Filatov returning after the 2009-2010 season, although once he was back in Russia -- and being productive -- there were rumblings that he may have had second guesses about returning.

He may say that the coaching change wasn’t a factor in his coming back to Columbus, but you have to think that with Ken Hitchcock gone Filatov would be much more eager to give it another go in the NHL. He was a healthy scratch in six of the first 19 games of the season, and was extremely displeased with how he perceived the coaching staff as not giving him a chance to succeed.

In 26 games with CSKA Moscow, he was named the KHL’s Rookie of the Month, and scored nine goals in 26 games, with 22 points overall.