The Finnish player has been on the minds of Red Wings fans this entire year. Much was expected of him in this shortened season when not much of the roster had changed, especially coming off a career-setting season of 66 points.
In this 41 games he played, Filppula had 17 points. That would make him on pace for a 32-34 point season, which is just about average for him. Filppula is an unrestricted free agent this off-season.
So the million-dollar question is: Do the Red Wings re-sign Valtteri Filppula?
Or perhaps that should be the five million-dollar question. Reports from a month or two ago said that Filppula was looking for a pay increase from his current $3 million a season to $5 million.
According to Mlive, Filppula seems very nonplussed about the whole situation. He sounds as though he wants to stay, but he doesn’t seem to think that the lack of talking with the organization is a bad thing.
In our last Octopus Thrower Hangout (shameless plug!), we discussed the possibility of re-signing Filppula. With Pavel Datsyuk announcing that he wants to return to the Red Wings after his contract is up next year, the need for Filppula is not as great.
While we’re constantly talking about Filppula’s offensive potential and when he could possibly at some point manage to do sometime soon, we need to keep in mind his defensive capabilities. Filppula is one of the better two-way players on our team. That’s an asset you may not want to give up so easily.
His offensive abilities may be frustrating, but his defensive abilities have the ability to… well, not exactly make up for that, but certainly make him an asset to our team. In the Anaheim series, he played against the Corey Perry/Ryan Getzlaf/Bobby Ryan and shut them down incredibly well. Let’s not forget he had the series-winning goal in Game 7!
His defensive abilities are good. We just need to stop thinking of him as a scoring force to be reckoned with.
It’s tough to talk about Filppula’s potential when he’s twenty-nine years old.
If you can re-sign Filppula for the right price, it is probably worth it. But even getting him for the right price, is it worth it to deal with his inconsistency and keep one of the players ready to make the jump into the NHL down in Grand Rapids?
Do you keep Gustav Nyquist sitting in Grand Rapids for yet another year? Or Cory Emmerton? Tomas Tatar? Or do you sign Filppula over Damien Brunner? Both of them play well on Henrik Zetterberg‘s line and while the choice isn’t necessarily signing one over the other, Ken Holland may be thinking that way.
So is signing Filppula worth it for a player that may only be an offensive force and have very little defensive coverage? Is signing Filppula worth it to potentially keep a player down in Grand Rapids, getting frustrated for the lack of time in the NHL?
Those are the bigger picture questions.