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Blue Jackets will release Nikita Filatov to allow him to play for Russia at world juniors

While it appears the Canadian team for the World Junior Championship won’t be getting any help from the NHL this year, the Russian team will have its most talented forward.

Columbus Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson confirmed today to THN.com that the team will release 2008 sixth overall draft pick Nikita Filatov for the tournament.

Filatov has spent the bulk of this season with the Syracuse Crunch of the American League where he has seven goals and 16 points in 20 games. He has also played four games with Columbus this season, scoring once.

Howson said the team will also release right winger Maxim Mayorov, who has registered five goals and 11 points in 24 games with Syracuse.

The Russian camp opens Dec. 18th in Kingston, Ont. The addition of Filatov will bolster an already talented Russian team that will seriously contend for the gold medal.

Filatov and Mayorov were both involved in a dispute between Columbus and the Kontinental League over their rights for this season. Two Ontario League players, Andrei Loktionov of the Windsor Spitfires and Evgeny Grachev of the Brampton Battalion, whose contracts were also disputed by the KHL, are both free to attend Russia’s camp.

Loktionov’s status for the tournament is uncertain because he was recently injured.

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