Re-Sign or Resign: Valtteri Filppula

Winging It In Motown

Welcome to Re-Sign or Resign, a new segment covering the pros and cons of Detroit’s pending UFAs. We’ll be taking a closer look at each UFA while going over two schools of thought: re-signing the player, or letting him run free into the sunset. So far, we’ve covered Luke Glendening and Darren Helm. Today’s topic is homecoming king Valtteri Filppula.

The three easiest ways to raise blood pressure: smoking, poor dietary choices, and watching Valtteri Filppula play hockey at age 37.

This was not a good year for old Val.

The 37-year-old forward was waived twice by the organization, relegated to taxi squad duties for large chunks of time. It was bad enough that Detroit tried to make him part of their league-worst power play, but trying to pawn him off as a 2C at several points in the season was just a very, very bad idea. Filppula got cratered statistically. His offensive and defensive metrics were worse than they’ve ever been before. It almost hurt to watch at some points.

Rose-colored glasses are a heck of a thing.

Ken Holland appeared to have them permanently stapled on his head when he signed Justin Abdelkader and Darren Helm to those monstrous contracts. Luckily for us, Yzerman doesn’t let nostalgia get in the way of the job. If Filppula is signed again, it’ll be for a two-way, league-minimum deal. He can be buried in the AHL if he falters, and if he exceeds expectations, he can be used as a stopgap to encourage rookies to make that next push.

The days of letting Filppula shoulder the burden of tough assignments are, unfortunately, over. But that doesn’t mean he can’t be a serviceable 13F or replacement-level player in the event of an injury. He could become the forward equivalent of Alex Biega. It’s highly unlikely that he makes a push for a full-time roster spot, but he’ll be a great emergency call-up or last-second fill-in if push comes to shove.

Valtteri Filppula is the oldest player on the Red Wings’ roster. If he’s re-signed, he’ll remain the oldest player on the roster, just a month older than Frans Nielsen. For a team looking to rebuild, signing old veterans far, far past their prime is not a good look — especially when they were waived twice by their team. But let’s look beyond the optics and take a deeper dive.

First, we should go back and view Flipper’s homecoming in Detroit. With all things considered, it went well if you forget about this. And that. Oh, and this too. Yeah, more often than not, Filppula was passable at best and downright abysmal at worst. In the last two season, Filppula scored 36 points in 108 games. Those are pretty decent numbers on the surface for a 4C, but Filppula was signed with the belief that he could serve at 3C or even 2C if needed. Despite the solid numbers he put up, Filppula failed to reach what should be expected out of a 3C or 2C.

It’s bad enough that the Wings relied on a 35-year-old (at the time) to fill in at 2C. To make matters worse, his defensive metrics are — and I’m not putting this lightly — a dumpster fire.

Valtteri Filppula’s advanced statistics according to Evolving Hockey

Table & Data: Evolving Hockey

This table is a three-year retrospective of Filppula. During one of the years, he played on the New York Islanders, a team with better offensive and defensive metrics than Detroit (to nobody’s surprise). With that in mind, let’s take a look at what the stats say.

While his offensive numbers have exceeded his (albeit low) expectations, the Red Wings are worse defensively whenever Filppula is on the ice. That isn’t to mention his abysmal special teams play. For whatever reason, Jeff Blashill decided to put him on the power play. The Wings ended the season with the second-worst power play percentage in the league, a feat due in no small part to relying on a 37-year-old veteran for scoring. By putting Filppula on the power play, Blashill essentially set him up for failure almost every single time.

The Verdict

Re-signing Filppula doesn’t make any sense no matter how you look at it. From his age to his defense to his dwindling speed, Filppula is not the player he used to be. It’s entirely possible he knows this, too. He’s had an excellent career. He won the Stanley Cup in 2008, played in the Finals in 2015, and has a few medals with Finland. In an ideal scenario, he sticks around Detroit and helps to mentor the younger guys in an assistant coaching or player support role. He’s always got a home in Hockeytown, but that home shouldn’t be on the ice.


Should the Red Wings re-sign Valtteri Filppula?

  • 0%
    One more year!

    (1 vote)

  • 96%
    No way!

    (179 votes)

  • 3%

    (6 votes)

186 votes total

Vote Now

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