The Detroit Red Wings have quite a bit of work to do with their roster this summer. Despite a surprise run to Game 7 of the Western Conference Semifinals, this is a team that needs to maintain some of its key free agents, while also managing to get its roster a touch younger overall.
One of their free agents that can be looked at as a priority is that of forward Valtteri Filppula. The 29-year-old forward is definitely going to be looking for a raise off of his current deal this summer. The question for the Wings is whether or not he’ll be worth what he’s going to be asking as a free agent.
The Red Wings have until July 5th to get a deal done with Filppula before he hits the market as an unrestricted free agent. Should that happen, there will definitely be interest. Filppula is a guy that can have value to quite a few teams, given what he brings to the table, both skill set wise, and as far as his versatility goes.
Filppula hasn’t developed into the star forward that many were hoping/expecting him too, but he’s become a solid player for Detroit nonetheless. He’s a versatile guy that can play both in the middle and on the wing, probably his most attractive feature. He carried a $3 million cap hit on his previous contract with the Wings.
In 41 games in 2013, Filppula posted 17 points, including nine goals, to go along with a minus-4 rating. Much more was expected of him coming off of the best year of his career, having finished with 66 points, including 23 goals, in 2011-2012. That isn’t likely to cause much of a hit to his free agent stock, however.
This is a guy capable of playing both out on the perimeter or in the middle. There’s value in that alone. He’s solid at the dot when he does play center, sitting at 52 percent at the dot for his career. He’s a contributor on both special teams, with three of his nine goals coming on the power play, as well as a good chunk of time on the penalty kill.
Filppula could see a raise of at least a million, perhaps all the way up to $5 million a year in a thin free agent market. Whether or not the Red Wings, who are in a position to spend some money, will want to pay that for a guy who has been largely a disappointment (but still possesses a good skill set), however, is something that remains to be seen.