KK Members Blog
by EDJ on 01/03/11 at 11:35 PM ET
Paul recently posted about a speculative trade of Versteeg for Filppula. Although interesting, I think Filppula offers far more to the organization over time. Versteeg could boost the Red Wings’ offense and offer some scrappy, physical play on the wing, but I think Versteeg’s potential is at best a second-line winger on a poor offensive team.
Filppula, on the other hand, is a center that is being given a growing role as the team’s number two centerman. He is slowly filling into that role, being given a regular opportunity on the power play and playing on the second line. He began last season on the third line with Leino and Jason Williams, an unproven NHL rookie and a gamble forced on Holland by Hudler’s departure. When he returned from his hand injury, he was soon given an opportunity to play on the first and second line wing and now started the season as our second line center, alongside proven NHL veterans Franzen and Bertuzzi. Babcock’s belief in Filppula is reflected not only in the line combinations but his post-game comments. Everyone knows Filppula is always being encourage to shoot the puck more often, and we’ve heard that he is like a mini-Datsyuk. To be compared to one of the star forwards is no small compliment.
Holland’s hope in Filppula can be ascertained in part through a look at his contract structure. Filppula is on a five year deal which takes him into UFA status and follows his entry level deal. His salary began at 2 mil and climbs to 3.5 which it remains at for three years. That reveals that Holland believes Filppula has a potential and he is still improving as a player. A similar deal is Kronwall’s five year deal which begins at 1.5 and climbs to 3.75. Kronwall is at the moment our future number one defenseman, and on many nights he leads the Wings in ice time (he is second to Lidstrom in TOI/G). He quarterbacks the second power play unit, and is another player expected to step up when the stars are injured or retire. The two deals are also similar to Zetterberg’s deal before his massive twelve year deal. His lasted four years, started at 2.4 and climbed to 2.9. Franzen’s ability was less anticipated and he had a smaller deal before his current long term one, but he followed the same trend. If Filppula meets expectations, I think he might face a similar if smaller pay day. But his growth depends on him learning how to play confidently and aggressively and learning how to take over a game the way Zetterberg and Datsyuk can.
What I want to do is to follow this post with examinations of Red Wings from a more management perspective. I’m open to correction and instruction : ), and hope to finish the sequence with a ranking of the roster in terms of importance to the organization. We’ll see how that goes, but thanks for reading
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