It was all but a given that Valtteri Filppula had played his last game with the Detroit Red Wings, and now that’s official. Filppula signed a five-year, $25 million contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning (and GM Steve Yzerman), multiple outlets reported.
The Red Wings had tried to get Filppula locked into a contract extension prior to this past season, then continued to chat with Filppula and his agent in recent weeks. However, Filppula opted to look for greener pastures and a shot at more meaningful ice time.
He may have found those things in Tampa Bay, though in moderation. Filppula’s contract, at $5 million per season, comes out just $100K over what Detroit handed Stephen Weiss, and the Lightning have a clear-cut No. 1 center in Steven Stamkos.
Filppula had 17 points for the Wings this past season, on the heels of a 66-point breakthrough showing in 2011-12. He had been a key playoff contributor for Detroit, scoring numerous key goals — and that was especially true in Game 7s, which made his exit in the finale vs. Chicago due to injury particularly frustrating.