Originally posted on The Bay Cave  |  Last updated 7/5/13

A week after buying out Vincent Lecavalier’s contract, the Tampa Bay Lightning sign Detroit Red Wings free agent center Valtteri Filppula, according multiple reports. TSN’s Bob McKenzie tweeted the contract details. As per @Real_ESPNLeBrun, Valteri Filppula agrees to 5 year deal for $5M per year with TB. — Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) July 5, 2013 Filppula played seven seasons with the Red Wings. In the 2011-2012 season, he scored 23 goals to go with 43 assists in 81 games. His numbers were practically cut in half in 41 games this past season. Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman is familiar with Filppula because of the time he served in the Red Wings front office. 

*UPDATE*

Lightning have officially announced the signing of Valtteri Filppula. The following is from the team's communications department.

“We are pleased to sign Valtteri to a five-year contract today,” Yzerman said.  “We feel he is an outstanding, all-around centerman who brings a winning pedigree to our organization. He fills a much-needed position for us at center and his skill, work ethic and character will make him a great addition to our team.  On behalf of the Lightning we’d like to welcome him to the organization.”

Filppula, 6-foot, 193 pounds, played in 41 games with the Detroit Red Wings last season, recording nine goals and 17 points.  He ranked fifth among team forwards for assists (8) and points.  Filppula’s 17:46 in average ice time was also fourth among Red Wings forwards.  He won 179 of 323 (55.4 percent) of face-offs last season to lead the team.  Filppula also played in all 14 Stanley Cup Playoff games for Detroit last season, recording two goals and six points.  During the NHL lockout he returned to his native Finland to play for Jokerit of the Finnish Elite League, where he posted six goals and 15 points in 16 games.

A native of Vantaa, Finland, Filppula has played in 483 career NHL games, all with the Red Wings, registering 100 goals, 251 points, 15 power-play goals and 12 game-winning goals.  He has averaged 16 minutes or more in average ice time in each of the previous six seasons, including a career-high 18:15 in 2011-12, the NHL ‘s last full season.  That year he also established career highs for games played with 81, goals with 23, assists with 43 and points with 66.  Filppula has excelled in the face-off circle during his time in the NHL, posting a 52.2 career win percentage.

Filppula, 29, won his first Stanley Cup with Detroit in 2008.  He has played in the postseason in each of his NHL seasons with the exception of one (2005-06), amassing 105 games played along with 19 goals and 57 points. 

Detroit’s third-round pick, 95th overall, of the 2002 NHL Entry Draft, Filppula has represented his native Finland on numerous occasions.  He won the Bronze Medal with Team Finland at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver and also played in the 2012 IIHF World Championships.  In 2004, Filppula was named a tournament all-star at the IIHF World Junior Championships.

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