After a 7-year absence, Valtteri Filppula will head back to the team that drafted him back in 2002, and where he called home for eight seasons. The Detroit Red Wings have signed the center to a two-year deal worth $6 million ($3 million AAV).
Coming off a season in which he recorded 17 goals and 14 assists in 72 games, his leadership played dividends for the Islanders throughout the season as well as in their playoff run. With a plus-19, the 31-year old center was as reliable as anyone on the ice, and his faceoff skills, hovering around 50 percent last season, helped the Islanders out in major situations.
In eight playoff games last season, Filppula recorded just four points. And with the Islanders worrying about the bigger players on the market, in hopes to make some major moves, the forward is not brought back.
Filppula returns to a team where he will play with Frans Nielsen, who wore the blue and orange for quite some time. Both players are known for the same traits, and both wore number 51 if I might add. Age does not seem to be a problem for Filppula and the important decisions he makes in hockey games may not be reflected on his stat line. Detroit was able to add a great player and a great leader, at a great price, in hopes of helping the franchise turn the corner after a couple of rough seasons.