Without having put on a skate the newest member of the Tampa Bay Lightning already knows the pressure he faces.

Valtteri Filppula, signed to a hefty deal on the first day of free agency (see story below), obviously is the guy Lightning GM Steve Yzerman thinks can offset the loss of Vincent Lecavalier.

"I hope I can be that guy," Filppula said of replacing Lecavalier. His full comments are in Saturday's Tampa Bay Times.

He also spoke of his dip in production last season, following up a 66-point campaign with one where Filppula only managed nine goals (albeit in a season shortened to 41 games by the lockout and injury).


"Good question. I really don't have a good explanation for you," he said, while Yzerman expressed no concern over last season.


Yzerman said "His work ethic, his commitment to fitness is at an extremely high level. He works hard, knows his role. We're getting a real professional here."