With the buyout of Vincent Lecavalier, Tampa Bay Lightning GM Steve Yzerman was in the market for a No. 2 center. But he wasn’t sure if it would be found in the NHL Free Agent Frenzy.
“We have to temper that impulse,” Yzerman told the Tampa Times. “The reason we used the compliance buyout is to give ourselves flexibility, to give ourselves options. We don’t want to go now and turn around and put ourselves in the same position with a contract that doesn’t make sense, so we have to be careful in that respect. We want to be as competitive as we possibly can.”
So, the essential question on Friday afternoon:
Do 5 years and $25 million for Detroit Red Wings center Valtteri Filppula make sense?
He’s a player with experience, which is what Yzerman coveted. He’s a former Red Wing, so Yzerman understands his game better than he would another player.
But $5 million for a player who, at best, could be called inconsistent with flashes of potential?
Filppula’s points-per-game average plummeted to 0.41 in 2012-13, after a career-high 0.81 in 2011-12. That’s despite his shots per game rising to 1.90, which was a three-year high.
He disappears a bit more than you’d like, but he’s a solid second-line center. And again: Yzerman knows what he’s getting here. He's not an upgrade over Lecavalier, but he doesn't have Vinny's contract, either.
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