2017-18 Stats: 11G, 22A, 33P
Cap Hit: $2.75 million | 1 Year (NMC)
The New York Islanders signed former Philadelphia Flyers center Valtteri Filppula on the first day of the 2018 free agency period to a single year $2.75 million deal.
For a guy who put up 33 points and won over 50 percent of his faceoffs while primarily playing on the defensive end of the ice, it was a good deal. Filppula can come in a play on the Islanders fourth line and immediately be an effective replacement for Casey Cizikas who can be moved up to the third line.
The deal is low risk. Filppula won’t be asked to fill the net with pucks, his role will focus on being smart on and off the puck. Keep it away from the Islanders end, and when it manages to find it’s way towards the Islanders net, make it hard on the opposition to create chances.
With that type of assignment, it’s going to be hard for Filppula to fail. At worst the Islanders have a fourth line center that they are paying less than their previous fourth line center.
Unless Filppula’s age becomes an issue. At 34-year-old he’s on the wrong side of 30. We know that Filppula is already in decline. How far does that decline go?
Again, he wasn’t brought in to put up a ton of points. But if he doesn’t generate any offense and looks a step-behind on the ice, the Islanders will be exposed. And the threat of a hard-working and competent bottom six will be absolutely broken.