Tampa, Florida -- When the Detroit Red Wings signed Stephen Weiss on Friday afternoon it became pretty clear that Valtteri Filppula was going to be moving on to another team. That team is the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The Lightning and Filppula agreed to terms on a five-year, $25 million contract Friday afternoon, giving the team a skilled player to center its second line behind Steven Stamkos. The story was originally reported by ESPN.
Tampa Bay Lightning General Manager Steve Yzerman certainly has a great knowledge of Filppula's game given the time he spent in Detroit's front office over the years. Filppula spent seven full seasons in Detroit.
"We are pleased to sign Valtteri to a five-year contract today," Yzerman said. "We feel he is an outstanding, all-around centerman who brings a winning pedigree to our organization. He fills a much-needed position for us at center and his skill, work ethic and character will make him a great addition to our team. On behalf of the Lightning we'd like to welcome him to the organization."
It's a pretty big investment for the Lightning, and his performance over the years doesn't really seem to be that of a $5 million per year player. He's very good, and responsible in all areas of the ice, but that's still a lot. Such is life in NHL free agency, especially when the crop of players available isn't that great to begin with and other teams are blindly throwing around money.
Filppula is one-year removed from his best season in the NHL when he scored 23 goals to go with 43 assists in 81 games. He followed that up this past season with nine goals and eight assists in 41 games.