DETROIT This last week could determine not just whether the Red Wings' playoff streak lives, but also Valtteri Filppula's future with the team.
Filppula, 29, is an unrestricted free agent after this season and could easily command 5 million a season on the open market after making 3.5 million each of the past two seasons.
Filppula can be an enigmatic player. He has all the skill and speed and defensive prowess you could want in a forward but sometimes fails to show it.
Everyone thought that Filppula had taken that step forward last season when he set career highs in goals with 23, assists with 43, points with 66, shots on goal with 144 and plus-minus at plus-18.
Then came the lockout.
Filppula practiced with teammates in Troy before heading to his native Finland to play with his former team, Jokerit, and with his brother, Ilari.
But Filppula injured his knee in Finland and was not quite 100 percent when the lockout ended.
This season Filppula had just seven goals and eight ...