Oct 5, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Tampa Bay Lightning center Valtteri Filppula (51) shoots the puck against the Chicago Blackhawks during the overtime period at the United Center. The Lightning beat the Blackhawks 3-2 in the shootout. Mandatory Credit: Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

Valtteri Filppula Outplaying Stephen Weiss So Far

When his contract expired last season Valterri Filppula was not shy about voicing his belief that he deserved be paid like a big time NHL centre.

The Wings’ brass disagreed and let Filppula walk. Tampa GM Steve Yzerman who was very familiar with the former Red Wing jumped at the opportunity to  sign the Finn to a lofty five-year, $25 million dollar contract.

Detroit instead spent their cash on former Panthers’ centre Stephen Weiss, inking him to an almost identical five-year $24.5 million dollar contract.  The general consensus around Detroit was that Weiss would provide the Wings with more offensive upside than Filppula.

Yet, through four games this has certainly not been the case.

Granted, I recognize it’s very early in the year, but so far the Bolts’ Valtteri Filppula has clearly outperformed his Red Wing counterpart.

The one bright spot for Weiss came in Carolina when he capped off Detroit’s third period comeback with an overtime goal… his first as a Red Wing. Things were looking up for #90 then, but how quickly things can change in a week.

To say Thursday was a bad night  for Weiss vs. the Coyotes would be an understatement. Weiss finished the night a minus 4 and was on for every goal against.

To make matters worse, Weiss looked like he’d never taken a faceoff in his career, going just 5 for 21 in the faceoff dot. For you mathletes out there that’s a whopping 24% average.

Things were so ugly that after the game Mike Babcock said that he was dismantling the second line altogether. This was a line (Franzen/Weiss/Alfredsson) that was tabbed as being an offensive juggernaut of sorts.

Hasn’t quite worked out that way.

On the flip side, Filppula finished Thursday night with an impressive 63% average in the faceoff circle. He also netted 2 goals (one of which was an absolute sick top shelf backhander) in a winning effort for the Lightning.

Filppula hasn’t missed a beat in Tampa and appears to have found instant chemistry with his new linemates in the Sunshine State.

So, here’s the tale of the tape through 4 games:

Player

Goals

Assists

Points

Plus/Minus

Faceoffs

Valtteri Filppula

3

1

4

+3

59%

Stephen Weiss

1

0

1

-1

41%

On October 11th these stats are no big deal because it’s still early and Weiss deserves a little more time to find his groove with his new team. However, if these stat lines are still the same on November 11th I will be getting real concerned.

Truth be told I think Weiss will prove to be a solid contributer for the Wings.

But, I’d be lying if I said there isn’t a small part of me questioning whether or not the Red Wings signed the right guy.

Tell us what you think.

Did The Wings Sign The Right Player?

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Tags: Detroit Red Wings Stephen Weiss Tampa Bay Lightning Valtteri Filppula

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