Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Filppula signs long term

The Detroit Red Wings made a subtle move Wednesday that could prove to be a spectacular one if Valtteri Filppula lives up to his potential.

Filppula signed a $15-million, five-year contract with the Red Wings that keeps a talented forward on the roster for a while.
It's no surprise the Red Wings avoided arbitration with a player they see as a key cog going forward.

This is a deal about talent evaluation. At minimum, Detroit sees Filppula as a player who will earn his $3-million a year salary by being a solid 20-goal, 40-point option that is defensively responsible.

That's the worst-case scenario, really, given he's only 24 and has shown some scoring potential in the AHL and last season as a regular in the NHL.

The best-case scenario? Henrik Zetterberg's four-year, $10.4-million deal signed in September, 2005, back when he was still a 20-goal, 40-point option that was defensively responsible.

I don't think Filppula's going to be a 90-point player, but at that price, even 60's a bargain. And he's certainly got some nice linemates to work with.

Note the similarities here:

GM Ken Holland on Filppula today: "We're really excited about locking in a player this young and this good that keeps him off the market as an unrestricted free agent for a couple of years. He's the kind of player we can build around in the years to come."

Holland on Zetterberg three years ago: "I'm really happy that we got a deal done because we always wanted Henrik to remain on our team. He's a young player who has shown he can produce in the NHL, and yet there's room for him to grow."

There's something to be said for having confidence in your players, expressing that publicly and bypass a confrontation like the arbitration process.



At 3:12 p.m., July 30, 2008, Blogger FAUX RUMORS said...

1) You hit the nail on the head with "This is a deal about talent evaluation". Thats what sets the good/winning organizations apart from the others

At 3:20 p.m., July 30, 2008, Blogger ryanbatty said...

I've got to agree as well. Assuming he improves at all this is a great deal. And if he doesn't he's still paid fairly for what he will produce. The Wings continue to be the model to follow.

At 3:25 p.m., July 30, 2008, Blogger rananda said...

disagree completely. it doesnt take a genius to know that filppula is a hell of a hockey player right now. if you gave 30 nhl teams the chance to sign filppula to a 5-year $15-million deal, i think you'd get 30 ecstatic gm's. this kid is miles ahead of a player like jordan staal, who i imagine, will command even more on an extension. this deal is about talent development. how they could transform fippula, an unheralded third-round pick, into the complete and effective player he is today, i have no idea. it's happened enough with them that it's more than luck.

i guess you could argue that it's about talent development in the sense that they locked him in for 5 years as opposed to 1 or 2, but really, that doesn't take a whole lot of prescience to see that. this is a scary-good deal for det. this kid is a great player.

At 3:31 p.m., July 30, 2008, Blogger saskhab said...

The Wings continue to be the model to follow.

It's an impossible model to follow. Logically, no team building model can rely on having one of the top 3 defencemen of all time on the ice for half the game. It's because of this they can sign guys like Hossa and Filpulla, because they can go with cheap goaltending. Everyone else needs to spend their extra money on $3.5m-$6m goaltenders instead.

At 3:35 p.m., July 30, 2008, Blogger FAUX RUMORS said...

1) Good point Saskab. How many contending teams have their goaltending tandem collectively making 2.2 million??

At 3:51 p.m., July 30, 2008, Blogger Chemmy said...

Earns more and scores less than Alex Steen while playing against weaker opposition on a better team.

I think Detroit got hosed here, but they could probably turn a sack of broken glass perched on top of one old skate into a 90 point player so what do I know?

At 3:54 p.m., July 30, 2008, Blogger James Mirtle said...

How many contending teams have their goaltending tandem collectively making 2.2 million??


it doesnt take a genius to know that filppula is a hell of a hockey player right now. if you gave 30 nhl teams the chance to sign filppula to a 5-year $15-million deal

There are not a heckuva lot of 36-point players getting five-year deals because so many GMs take a very show me attitude with their prospects. As Chemmy points out, Filppula hasn't shown a lot yet at the NHL level — but the Wings think he's a slam dunk to do so.

At 4:18 p.m., July 30, 2008, Blogger rananda said...

steen's a very comparable player signed to a much shorter-term deal. what do you think steen's cap hit is going to be starting in 2010-11? i'll be shocked if it's lower than 3. i know what filppula's is going to be. of course tor doesnt need to worry about locking steen up long term bc theyre not going to have any good players by then anyway.

steen and filp's qualcom and qualteam numbers are impossible to compare with any insight because of the disparities in team makeup and ability. of course filp doesnt have to play against the big boys because dats/zett do that.

filppula acquitted himself quite nicely in the playoffs and finals specifically, something steen didnt have the chance to do. i have no doubt the wings could have easily got him at 2 years and 4 million this summer, but where does that leave them. it leaves him getting 4+ million in arbitration the next year, and then walking away as a ufa when the blue jackets sign him to a monster deal as a shut down center that can score a bit.

people talk about ryan malon's playoff performance, does any one really think malone outplayed filppula in the postseason?

At 4:20 p.m., July 30, 2008, Anonymous PJ said...

Colorado <> contending team

At 4:22 p.m., July 30, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it's easier give that kind of dough when you've just seen this youngster playing great in Stanley Cup finals.

With players there's always questions about handling pressure in toughest games. Filppula answered that question couple of months ago and next Monday he's having his Stanley Cup party in Finland.

Filppula has lots of upside so this deal will be good for Detroit, too.

At 4:27 p.m., July 30, 2008, Blogger James Mirtle said...

Good point, PJ.

At 8:42 p.m., July 30, 2008, Anonymous Ryan said...

I'm not sure how much his playoff performance had to do with this deal. Remember, the Wings gave Datsyuk his big contract after he'd gone 21 playoff games without a goal. It's no secret the Wings really like Filppula, and it's hard not to see potential when you watch him. But he wasn't worth $3m last season, so this contract isn't really a steal. James is right, it's about talent evaluation.

If I had to describe Filppula without going into too much detail, I'd say that he does everything right some of the time. If he can improve his strength on the puck, his offensive instincts, and his overall consistency he'll be the second line centre the Wings are paying and expecting him to become.

At 2:09 a.m., July 31, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Filppula can smell money. His girlfriend is from Finland's richest family.

If you can find Rockefeller and Stanley Cup you're doing something right no matter what you make in your day job.

Just learn those two words: Yes, dear.


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