Valtteri Filppula was drafted in the Third Round of the 2002 NHL Entry Draft and joined the during Detroit Red Wings the 2005-06 season for a few games.
The following season Filppula was a mainstay on the ice for the Red Wings. In his first NHL season Wing fans saw flashes of Filppula’s potential and his future looked very bright in Detroit.
Fast-forward to the 2011-12 season and Filppula was the third highest point producer and goalscorer. Filppula had finally made it! All of the potential that Red Wing fans and management had seen had finally come out and he was ready to take over the second line.
Boy, were we wrong. Filppula regressed this past season and Henrik Zetterberg once again had to center the second line.
He fell from third to sixth on the team in points and third to fifth in goals. Filppula could not out score Daniel ‘No Knees’ Cleary, whom he tied with for fifth place or Justin Abdelkader ‘Piano Mover’, whom while having the benefit of playing next to Datsyuk for a lot of the season has never been a heavy point producer in the NHL.
Valtteri Filppula was battling for a new contract, but he did not produce enough on the ice to warrant the contract he was looking for from the Red Wings. The Wings ended up letting him walk over to Steve Yzerman‘s office in Tampa Bay, where he signed a five-year $25 million dollar deal.
After Filppula walked, Ken Holland and Co. wasted no time in trying to bring their coveted free agent, Stephen Weiss, to Hockeytown.
Filppula’s time in Detroit has been a series of people saying, “Wait till next year!” or “But look at his potential!”. There is only so long you can wait and at 29 there is no more talk of potential, Fippula was wearing out his welcome with the fans who were hoping he would step up and it was time for him to move on.
While I will miss the blond Finn and wish him well in Tampa Bay, I am more excited to see Stephen Weiss, a bona fide number one in Florida and a better second line option than Filppula, step up and take over the second line.