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Tampa Bay Lightning address second-line center need with free agent Valtterri Filppula

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The former Detroit Red Wings player fills the 2nd line center void in Tampa.

Gregory Shamus

The Tampa Bay Lightning signed unrestricted free agent Valtteri Filppula to a five year contract on Friday afternoon. The 29-year-old center agreed to the five year $25 million contract with Tampa Bay after spending his entire National Hockey League career with the Detroit Red Wings.

It was apparent Filppula wouldn't be re-signing with Detroit after the Red Wings signed center Stephen Weiss to a similar deal earlier Friday afternoon.

Lightning General Manager Steve Yzerman certainly is familiar with Filppula after Yzerman's five years spent in the Red Wings' front office. One of Yzerman's focuses was to land a legitimate center and he did that with one he is familiar with.

Filppula gives Tampa Bay a solid skilled forward who can center the second line behind Steven Stamkos.

The $5 million per year is a rather large investment for Tampa Bay but that seems to be the going rate for UFA'S in this year's NHL free agency. Also, Filppula is a responsible skater in all areas of the ice and don't forget, he is only one year removed from his best season in the NHL when he scored 23 goals and added 43 assists in 81 games in 2011-2012.


Filppula did have a disappointing season to follow that up, with eight goals and had nine assists in 41 games in 2013.

Filppula was selected 95th overall in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft by the Red Wings. In 483 games, he has 100 goals and 251 assists in the regular season and has scored 19 goals and added 28 assists in his playoff career. He won a Stanley Cup with Detroit in 2008.