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Bolts’ Filppula: ‘I couldn’t produce the points that I wanted’ last year

Jul 26, 2013, 12:44 PM EDT

Filppula 2

Valtteri Filppula admits he didn’t perform as well as he’d hoped last season.

“You always want to do better in every aspect of the game,” Filppula told the Tampa Bay Lightning website. “Last year I couldn’t produce the points that I wanted to and I hope I can do better next year.

“That’s going to be a big focus.”

Filppula, 29, had a disappointing 2013 campaign, scoring just 17 points in 41 games (and six in 14 playoff appearances) — but reasons for the drop off in production were many.

He suffered a knee sprain while playing for SM-liiga’s Jokerit during the lockout, an injury that shelved him for nearly two months and lingered into the start of the NHL season.

Filppula then missed seven games with a shoulder injury (prior to the ailment, he had 10 points in 19 games) and, to top things off, suffered a high ankle sprain in Detroit’s Game 7 overtime elimination against Chicago.

It was a disappointing year, to say the least.

That’s a far cry from Filppula’s 2011-12 campaign, when he appeared in a career-high 81 games while notching a career-high 66 points, playing primarily on a line with Henrik Zetterberg and Jiri Hudler.

(Yet another possible reason for Filppula’s downswing in 2013 — Hudler left to sign in Calgary, and Zetterberg moved units. Filppula never really clicked with his linemates last season.)

That ’11-’12 breakout season was a big reason why clubs were lined up to secure his services this summer — Filppula agreed to a five-year, $25 million deal with Tampa Bay after receiving interest from a number of clubs, most notably the St. Louis Blues.

Filppula said he’s ready to embrace a larger workload with the Bolts than he had with the Wings. In Tampa, he’ll likely replace ex-captain Vincent Lecavalier as the team’s second-line center.

“It’s always the goal to have a bigger role wherever you play,” he said.

  1. Mike Halford - Jul 26, 2013 at 1:04 PM

    Hey, whoever posted the comment about the headline, I was in the midst of editing when you (apparently) posted and now the comment’s gone. Just an FYI. “In Detroit” has been replaced by “last year,” which was what it was supposed to have read in the first place. There was a publishing snafu.

  2. thailer35 - Jul 26, 2013 at 1:23 PM

    Since no one can see that comment it’s kind of like you called yourself offsides, Halford. Keep playing until the ref blows the whistle.

    • Mike Halford - Jul 26, 2013 at 1:30 PM

      I’m an honest player. Sprotzmanshep!

  3. redgreentape - Jul 26, 2013 at 3:41 PM

    That is what we had with him, always next year. I wish him well But Tampa Bay fans…Don’t get your hopes up, you just can’t expect him to be good on a regular bases.

  4. hypefree10 - Jul 26, 2013 at 5:42 PM

    No grit, never goes to the hard areas. Enjoy TB, Weiss is a huge upgrade in the middle for Detroit. I will miss his smooth skating and great back checking.

  5. polegojim - Jul 26, 2013 at 6:55 PM

    Agreed completely redgreen and hype…

    Moments of flash, but definitely not a grinder or a banger… he’s fast when completely unhindered… but how often does that really happen in today’s NHL??? Hardly EVER.

  6. murraychadwick - Jul 27, 2013 at 10:12 PM

    Worst free agent deal of them all this year. Guy is getting $5M a year and has only had one 60pt season in a 7 year career. I just don’t see the value in his contract. He’s a 3.5-4M a year guy.

  7. shoobiedoobin - Jul 30, 2013 at 5:37 PM

    Too much defense. Tough to net points when you’re backchecking the second the other team shows signs they MIGHT touch the puck soon. That’s good for the team but bad for the individual. Not everyone is Datsyuk.

    It’s fun though to hear other crackpot theories on why he didn’t score. Especially that crap about going to the hard areas. He did all the time. Or effort. The guy tried his ass off and played Selke level defense. Plain and simple, and this is THE reason-he just played too much defense and refused to go deep into the zone for fear of being caught deep. The year he moved to wing he suddenly scored a ton of points. The easy math would indicate it was Zetterberg and Hudler (Hudler, who was also seen as a disappointment by Wings fans) but really it was Filppula going deeper into the zone and staying there. That’s really it, anything else is wrong. If Tampa makes him do this and gets him competent linemates, he’ll score 60.

    • shoobiedoobin - Jul 30, 2013 at 5:54 PM

      Oh and one other thing I find funny..

      “I sucked last year, I hope I do better this year, so I’m going to turn down your offer of around 3.5 mil because I think I deserve 5 long term”.

      Yeha Val, no shock you didn’t come back to Detroit. The Wings take care of those who take care of the team. Apparently a couple mil more per year is more important than that to him. His loss, Detroit signed Weiss.

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