Looking through the Rankings archives...back to April 2010 and the fantasy hype surrounding one Nikita Filatov.


The American philosopher George Santayana famously said “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” It is one of the most recognizable quotes in history, asking us to remember the past, or risk making the same mistakes in our future.


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I cannot confirm or deny if George meant this as a founding principle of fantasy hockey (maybe he was concerned with landing a strong keeper centerman in the late 1890s?). It’s message undoubtedly rings true in all walks of life. Today I want to apply it to fantasy rankings, and the importance of understanding our errors of yesteryear, so we can aim to value players more appropriately in the future.  

When Dobber published his prospect rankings in April of 2010 there wasn’t a more sought after youngster than Russia’s Nikita Filatov. He had been drafted by Columbus sixth overall, behind Stamkos, Doughty, Bogosian, Pietrangelo, and Luke Schenn. He was lightening fast, had soft hands, and a laser release that had pundits pegging him for 30-plus goals annually over the coming decade.

The Blue Jackets landing Filatov at six was considered quite a coup at the time, with Nikita being ranked higher on many pre-draft lists. Teams picking one through five shied away from the sniper for fear he might prefer playing in Russia.

We all know what would unfold, Filatov spent the next four years bouncing between AHL, NHL and KHL teams before eventually being traded to Ottawa for a third round draft pick in 2011. After nine games with the Senators, and a mighty one assist, his NHL, and fantasy career came to an unceremonious end.


Apr. 10 Prospect Team Prospect Rating
1 Nikita Filatov CBJ 88.2
2 Jordan Eberle EDM 81.7
3 Kyle Turris PHO 77.9
4 Mikkel Boedker PHO 75.8
5 Cody Hodgson VAN 74.1
6 Joe Colborne BOS 71.9
7 Mikael Backlund CGY 71.5
8 Brayden Schenn LA 70.1
9 Tyler Ennis BUF 69.8
10 Nazem Kadri TOR 69.4
11 Max Pacioretty MTL 68.6
12 Shawn Matthias FLA 68.2
13 Oscar Moller LA 68.1
14 Logan Couture SJ 68.1
15 Evgeny Grachev NYR 67.6


Looking at this list, it is amazing to see how much has changed in just over three seasons. Today the most valuable assets would be:

Strong Assests

2. Jordan Eberle

5. Cody Hodgson

8. Brayden Schenn

10. Nazem Kadri

11. Max Pacioretty

14. Logan Couture

27. Jiri Tlusty

Eberle has performed very close to expectations – producing a fantastic 34 goal, 76 point season in 2011-12. Last year’s point totals dipped slightly (82 game pace of 63) but he took a step forward in shots, finishing with a per game average of 2.8.

Fresh off a new six year 25.5 million dollar contract Cody Hodsgon should provide close to the top five value he promised owners in 2010. Players like Brayden Schenn, Nazem Kadri, and Jiri Tlusty have taken significant steps forward and look to be valuable fantasy commodities for years to come.

Arguably the best pick from 2010 has turned out to be Montreal’s Max Pacioretty. He may lack the point potential of a Kadri or Eberle, but he more than makes up for with his shots in multi-category formats. Last year he ended with 39 points in 44 games, to go along with 163 shots (seventh in the NHL). This year he has a yahoo average draft position of 87, which is quite a steal, considering his last two seasons of top 50 production.

Hidden Gems

84. Derek Stepan

85. Justin Abdelkader

97. Marcus Johansson

165. Adam Henrique

184. Colin Greening

Scrolling way down near the bottom of our rankings I was astounded by the number of quality players who have defied the odds and vaulted into fantasy relevancy. Derek Stepan (when he eventually signs) could be playing on the first line in New York where 70 points is a real possibility. 23 year old Henrique is locked into New Jersey’s top six for the next half decade and already boasts a 51 point season on his resume.

What struck me the most about reviewing these rankings was the shear randomness with which some players succeeded, while others have yet to reach their fantasy potential. Guys like Mikkel Boedker, Joe Colborne, and Mikael Backlund were seen as top 10 prospects in 2010. In the time since, none of those three has been anything more than a waiver add in most formats.

So what does this mean for our fantasy teams?

The most important reminder is to tread carefully with prospects. No matter how much research and analysis you conduct on players like Drouin, Barkov, or Nichushkin there is no way to know exactly what they will become. The age of these youngsters and inherent lack of sample size at the pro-level makes them a significant gamble, even if it is an educated one.

I don’t mean to discourage you from taking prospects. The risk/reward equation for a coveted young player if he blossoms can do wonders for your team, especially in keeper leagues. Just make sure you don’t over invest, wooed by offseason articles and reports of a player looking like “The next Stamkos, Hall or Karlsson”.  There is always a place for prospects, but the downside risk needs to be managed by surrounding them with consistent veterans.

Heading into 2010-11 we had our annual keeper league re-entry draft (everyone kept four forwards, a defenceman and a goalie) at a friend’s place in Toronto. A 10 team league, head to head, with multiple categories.

Staring down at my draft board in the second round I couldn’t believe my luck - Nikia Filatov had inexplicably gone undrafted through the first 13 picks. That entire summer I had read every conceivable magazine article, news report, blog post, scouting report and hieroglyphic writing I could find about Filatov. Almost everyone echoed the same sentiment – he is a surefire star – he’ll score 40 goals in the NHL someday.

Practically shaking with excitement I hit the draft button and the Russian phenom was mine. I glanced around the room and pronounced confidently to everyone in attendance “Well gentlemen, you are totally screwed. I just drafted the next Pavel Bure - in the second round!”….

Well George, consider that a lesson learned.


Darren is a Jaromir Jagr propagandist, fantasy hockey blogger and editor of The Man Advantage. You can follow him @TMA_Hockey_blog

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Comments (7)add comment

Wrist_Shot said:

Great column idea.... Keep. Doing. These.
September 28, 2013
Votes: +0

STONE. said:

... Awesome. My fave new feature! I hope it's a regular.
September 25, 2013
Votes: +2

Anze said:

... My brother held the choice to land Filatov. I desperately wanted a star left winger. He asked for Kopitar or Corey Perry plus my own first-rounder. I said no. I would have accepted Filatov for Perry straight up, but he felt it wasn't enough. Lesson learned on my side !!!
September 25, 2013
Votes: +0

ultrawhiteness said:

great look back great perspective. I drafted Filatov early-ish in an inaugural dynasty league draft, hoping that he and Radulov would anchor my wings with scoring potential. Oops.

luckily I was able to flip him in a big deal where basically he went across for Paajarvi, another young wing prospect I thought would have high upside. Oops.

one thing that will always bug me about Filatov is how Columbus so clearly botched his development. a skinny Russian kid with limited small-ice experience... no way he should have been turning pro in North America that quickly. he should have been left in Russia or allowed to play for the OHL team that drafted him.
September 25, 2013
Votes: +0

4horsemen said:

... A little part of me dies every time I read the name 'Filatov'. Hope you can sleep at night knowing that

Fun article though, I'll look forward to these!
September 25, 2013
Votes: +1

Dobber said:

... Yes, but what did you think of this new feature? It will be up every two weeks. I'm loving it, great potential
September 25, 2013
Votes: +0

brosal04 said:

... To be honest, I think it's a bit early to write Filatov of the face of the planet. He's 22 and still oozes ton's of skill. It hadn't translated to the NHL yet. He put up solid numbers in the AHL and has a small sample size in the NHL 50 GP. I still think you need to wait 3 or 4 years to completely write him off stranger things have happened. Bryan Murray had said also there still keeping tabs on his development after lending him back to Russia. He is currently on PPG pace this season in KHL.
September 25, 2013
Votes: +0
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