The Hockey News’s Matt Larkin believes that the Red Wings signed Valtteri Filppula to a 2-year, $6 million contract at 35 years of age for a very specific reason:
We know who Filppula is at this point. He can play center or the wing, he’s respectable on faceoffs, he kills penalties, and he can handle some second-unit power play duty. He’s still capable of chipping in a double-digit goal total, too.
Filppula essentially becomes insurance to keep the Wings from rushing their forward prospects such as Filip Zadina and Joe Veleno to the NHL. Instead, they’ll have to earn their way onto the team with their performances in camp. Once they’re up, a Filppula, a seasoned two-way forward who won a Cup in 2008 with Detroit, can offer some mentorship. During the second year of his contract, should the Wings not yet be playoff contenders, they’ll likely be able to move Filppula to a contender as a trade-deadline piece, as he doesn’t need to score to be useful.