April 17, 2016
So the Senators set their sights on Dmitri Filimonov, a lanky defenseman who would grow to be six-foot-four and 225 pounds. He had played for Russia in the 1991 Canada Cup, but otherwise was almost unknown in most NHL circles.
The native of Perm, Russia was already drafted by Winnipeg, 49th overall in 1991, but the Sens picked him up for the cost of a fourth round pick in 1993.
Filimonov arrived in Ottawa and played 30 games in 1993-94. It was a tough adjustment, especially since Filimonov spoke zero English when he arrived. That was never more evident than when he forgot his passport in Canada while on a trip to Tampa Bay. He was unable to board the plane and make the trip and, with Yashin unavailable, no one was able to held the bewildered foreigner.
He, like so many Soviet trained defenders of that era, also struggled with the differences between Soviet and NHL hockey. He tried to use his body to be a NHL impact defenseman by banging bodies but inexperience led to many bad reads.
Filimonov played two seasons in the minor leagues before returning to Europe in 1997. He initially played a season in Finland before returning to Russia to play in his hometown until 2006.