Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 09/08/13 at 08:05 AM ET
from Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune,
Filppula signed with Tampa Bay on July 5, eight days after Lecavalier’s buyout. The natural inclination, then, is to view Filppula as the replacement for Lecavalier.
But Lightning coach Jon Cooper said he will go into training camp with no preconceived notions regarding Filppula’s role or what line he will play on when the season opens Oct. 3. Cooper has never seen Filppula play in person and knows the player only from tape, so he will see how things play out in training camp and during the preseason.
Lecavalier, the No. 1 overall pick by the Lightning in 1998, has 383 goals and 491 assists in 1,037 career games. Filppula, also a left-handed shot, has 100 goals and 151 assists in 483 career games.
“I think everybody in our organization 100 percent knows that it is not even comparable,’’ Cooper said of comparing Filppula with Lecavalier. “But because they play the same position, they shoot the same hand, of course they are going to be compared. I just think that’s unfair to put that on Val, because Vinny has been doing it in this league for 15 years at a high level. So, that’s an unfair comparison.’’
Cooper is certainly savvy enough to know Filppula will be a welcome addition to the roster.
“I think he is coming right into his prime, and he’s spent pretty much his entire professional career being educated at a Grade-A organization,’’ Cooper said. “And he has won. He comes from a winning organization, so any time you can take players out of that environment while you are trying to create that in your organization, it will help us.’’
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