For Valtteri Filppula, the numbers have steadily declined during his long NHL career. He did reach the double-digit goal mark for the first time since 2014-15, though. Playing primarily as the third line center for the Philadelphia Flyers this past season, Filppula showed he has been able to adapt to the ever-changing game. He has another opportunity to prove he still has more in him as the New York Islanders have brought him aboard.
— Arthur Staple (@StapeAthletic) July 2, 2018
Islanders Sign Valtteri Filppula
Since being drafted by the Detroit Red Wings in 2002, Filppula had played for only three teams in his career. Making his NHL debut in December 2005, Filppula became the first Finnish player to play an NHL game for Detroit. He went on to play seven full seasons with the Red Wings, winning his first Stanley Cup in 2008.
Filppula’s best season with the Red Wings came in his second to last season with the team in 2011-12. He put up a then-career high of 23 goals. His 43 assists and 66 points remain his career high in those departments. He followed up that season with nine goals and eight assists in the lockout-shortened season.
The Tampa Bay Lightning came calling before the 2013 season, signing Filppula to a five-year, $25 million contract. Filppula would set a new career high in goals during his first season with the Lightning. The 25 goals he scored that season remains as the last time he reached the 20 goal mark.
He remained with the Lightning for two and a half more seasons, scoring a total of 27 goals in 217 games. He was traded to the Philadelphia Flyers on deadline day in 2017. The move rid the Lightning of Filppula’s $5M cap hit, giving them a better opportunity to protect younger forwards in the expansion draft.
In 20 games with the Flyers after the trade, Filppula only had five goals and three assists. His first full season with Philadelphia was disappointing as well. He finished the season with 11 goals and 22 assists. He added three points, one goal and two assists, in six playoff games.
A change of scenery may help Filppula revive his career and the Islanders certainly hope that is the case. Filppula turned 34 years old in March and there may not be much more time left in his NHL career. He brings veteran leadership and postseason experience. Since his NHL career began, Filppula has appeared in the playoffs more often than not.
Embed from Getty Images