MLive’s Ansar Khan issues a 2019-2020 season outlook for Valtteri Filppula this morning, and Khan suggests that Filppula and Frans Nielsen will end up serving defensive roles:
Experience, versatility and familiarity were among the reasons the Red Wings brought back Filppula, whom they drafted 95th overall in 2002, for his second stint with the organization.
Andreas Athanasiou played well at center the final six weeks of the season, but his long-term future is at wing. Filppula fills a role as the second- or third-line center (with Frans Nielsen in the other slot). He’ll join the core of penalty-killing forwards led by Luke Glendening and Darren Helm and play on the power play. A strong skater with solid defensive awareness, he can match up against the opposition’s top line.
One of the biggest criticisms with Filppula in his first stint with the Red Wings was his reluctance to shoot. That hasn’t changed. In fact, he seems even less inclined to shoot now. He managed to score 17 goals last season but that will be difficult to replicate with his tendency to pass first.