“Our goal coming in here was to try to keep the top six and improve the team with a significant player,” Howson told NHL.com. “We did that, so that’s good.”
The Blue Jackets did it within the first three hours of the draft as they nabbed Russian winger Nikita Filatov with the No. 6 pick before trading their second first-round pick, No. 19 overall, to Philadelphia in exchange for R.J. Umberger
. The Jackets also picked up Philadelphia’s fourth-round pick (No. 118) and gave up its third-rounder (No. 67).
“(Columbus coach Ken Hitchcock) has some history with Umberger and R.J. expressed to me that he was happy to be reunited with Hitch again because he sees the benefit of what happened for him when he was a young player,” Howson said. “We just see him as a versatile, competitive player, another piece that we’ll figure out where he fits when he gets to camp. The great thing about R.J. is he can play anywhere, center or wing, higher or lower in the lineup.”
Filatov was the guy the Jackets were eyeing all along, figuring that the top-tier defenseman – Drew Doughty, Zach Bogosian, Alex Pietrangelo and Luke Schenn – would already be gone by the sixth pick.
“He’s a dynamic offensive player with a high skill level and great passion for the game,” Howson said. “You can see that how he plays. He has excelled in the last two or three years in all the international competitions against older players. We hope he’s going to be a real good offensive player in the NHL.”
Here is a look at Columbus’ 2008 NHL Entry Draft class:No. 6 Nikita Filatov, LW, CSKA2 (Russia)
- Filatov was so highly regarded by Central Scouting that he was their No. 1 European prospect. Many believe he can play in the NHL next year.
The 5-foot-10, 170-pound winger doesn’t seem concerned about the lack of a transfer agreement between the NHL and IIHF either because he is not currently under contract. Howson said he should be free to sign an NHL contract.
Filatov led Russia with nine points in seven games at the 2008 World Junior Championships. He captained Russia to the silver medal at the 2008 Under-18 World Championships. Filatov also had 66 points in 34 games in the Russian junior league last season.
No. 37 Cody Goloubef, D, University of Wisconsin (WCHA)
- Goloubef, 18, was the youngest player in the WCHA last year and the second-youngest in Division I hockey. He was ranked No. 34 among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting.No. 107 Steven Delisle, D, Gatineau (QMJHL)
- Delisle, who is ranked No. 171 among North American skaters, turns 18 on July 30 and just finished his rookie year in the QMJHL with six goals and 23 points in 70 games. He’s a hulking 6-foot-6 and 209 pounds.
No. 118 Drew Olson, D, Brainerd H.S. (Minnesota)
- Olson is a 5-11, 215-pound defenseman who had 17 goals and 16 assists and was a finalist for Minnesota’s Mr. Hockey Award. He is headed to the University of Minnesota-Duluth next year.No. 127 Matthew Calvert, LW, Brandon (WHL)
- Calvert had 69 points in 78 games for the Wheat Kings as a rookie this past season.No. 135 Tomas Kubalik, RW, Plzen (Czech)
- Kubalik is a prospect out of the Czech Republic who played 20 games with Plzen last year and had one goal and two assists.No. 137 Brent Regner, D, Vancouver (WHL)
- Regner just finished his second season in Vancouver with eight goals and 39 assists in 72 games.
No. 157 Cameron Atkinson, RW, Avon Old Farms (USHS)
- The 5-9 winger scored 26 goals and 63 points in 28 games for Avon Old Farms.
OTTAWA – Columbus GM Scott Howson had two goals entering the No. 187 Sean Collins, C, Waywayseecappo (MJHL)
- Collins was an All-Star this past year in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League. He finished the season with 51 goals and 64 assists. Contact Dan Rosen at firstname.lastname@example.org
Author: Dan Rosen | NHL.com Staff Writer