Jul 5, 2013, 3:17 PM EDT
Valtteri Filppula got what he wanted.
The former Detroit center — who was gunning for a five-year deal worth at least $5 million annually — has signed a five-year, $25 million deal with the Tampa Bay Lightning, according to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun.
Filppula had spent his entire professional career with the Red Wings, debuting in 2005-06 — as a teammate of franchise legend and current Bolts GM Steve Yzerman.
The 29-year-old Finn had a breakout campaign in 2011-12, scoring a career-high 23 goals and 66 points. But this season, coming out of the lockout, was a struggle in terms of overall offensive production.
He had just nine goals and 17 points in 41 games played, and his playoff production — two goals and six points in 14 games — left a lot to be desired as well.
Of course, Filppula was in the final year of a five-year, $15 million deal with Detroit and seemed determined to test free agent waters.
With a weak free agent center class and his 2011-12 season highlighting his resume, it was expected someone would make a sizeable offer, even with a down 2013 campaign.
Tampa Bay turned out to be the team.
With the move, the Lightning solve their second-line center situation, which had a sizable hole after the club bought out longtime captain Vincent Lecavalier.
The Filppula deal now puts Tampa Bay roughly $3.5 million away from the salary cap ceiling.
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