Nikita Filatov, 1st round (#6 overall), 2008 NHL Draft
The sixth overall selection was again unkind to the Blue Jackets when they hit the podium in 2008, they just didn’t know it yet. After the Tampa Bay Lightning made Steven Stamkos the first overall pick, there was a run on defensemen before the Blue Jackets selected the second forward in the draft: Nikita Filatov.
Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson thought they had just landed a franchise-altering player in Filatov, considered by many to be the second best player in the entire draft. The excitement grew when he scored his first NHL hat trick in just his sixth game in the league, in spite of just under 10 minutes on the ice that night.
But things quickly deteriorated for Filatov, who left for Russia soon after the hat trick that became his lone standout performance for the Blue Jackets. Character issues abounded for Filatov, which led to the line he’s most remembered for:
"After four or five clips, Filatov steps back from the monitor, looks at the coaches and says, flatly: “Filly don’t do rebounds.”"
The talent was obvious, he had high end hands and creativity, and a knack for scoring goals. He had the ability to become a highlight reel player for a franchise turning the corner, rapidly improving under then head coach Ken Hitchcock. But he bounced around the Blue Jackets system for just three years before being dealt to Ottawa for a third round pick (TJ Tynan) in 2011. He would play in just 53 NHL games, scoring a modest 6 goals and 14 points, before returning to Russia for good.
A clear miss when you consider that, Filatov was the only top-10 pick from the 2008 draft with less than 300 games played in the NHL, and one of just 9 players taken in the first round to play less than 100 games.