Valtteri Filppula signs five-year deal with Tampa Bay
After buying out Vincent Lecavalier, the Tampa Bay Lightning were in need of a second-line center to play behind All-Star pivot Steven Stamkos. On the first day of free agency, they found one. The Lightning signed former Detroit Red Wings center Valtteri Filppula to a five-year, $25M deal, as per ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun:
As per @Real_ESPNLeBrun, Valteri Filppula agrees to 5 year deal for $5M per year with TB.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) July 5, 2013
Filppula, 29, spent the first eight years of his NHL career with Detroit. A third-round pick by the Red Wings in 2002, Filppula joined the team in 2005. In 483 NHL games, the Vantaa, Finland native has 100 goals and 251 total points, and has 57 points (19 goals, 38 assists) in 105 career postseason games with Detroit.
As stated before, Filppula will be expected to fill the void at center left by Lecavalier on Tampa Bay’s second line. Filppula showed plenty of ability to play that role in Detroit, but he was always caught in a bit of a numbers game with the Red Wings, and they already had players like Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg to center their top two lines. Filppula will now get a chance to show his stuff with a consistent top-six role in Tampa Bay.