BY: John Mamola
The Tampa Bay Lightning signed winger Valtteri Filppula to a five year contract last July to replace some of the scoring that former Captain Vincent LeCavalier has left on the table following the team releasing LeCavalier. Little did Bolts fans know at the time that the 30-year old former Detroit Red Wings would end up second on the team in points and tied for the team lead in goals for 2013-2014 season.
With the playoffs beginning on Wednesday, the status of Filppula is in question as he is listed day-to-day with a lower body injury that he suffered in a win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday night. NHL on NBC analyst Jeremy Roenick told WDAE on Monday morning that if Filppula missed any playing time during the playoffs, it would be a huge hit to their chances against the Montreal Canadiens.
"He's a fantastic hockey player," said the 18-year NHL star. "If this guy can't play in the playoffs, it'd be a huge blow to Tampa. I truly believe he's one of the more creative reliable players in that National Hockey League and doesn't get enough credit for how good he really is."
Roenick calls Filppula one of his favorite hockey players in the league because of the education he gained by playing with Pavel Datsyuk in Detroit for seven seasons. The NBC analyst says Filppula's ability to know where to go with the puck before he even has possession of the puck shows off his amazing hockey IQ and it a great bonus to have on the Tampa Bay Lightning roster.
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