The Malik Report
by George Malik on 08/19/13 at 07:31 PM ET
Valtteri Filppula ended a seven-year NHL tenure (8 years as a pro) and 11 years' of status as a member of the Red Wings' family to sign a 5-year, $25 million contract with the Wings' new division rival, the Tampa Bay Lightning, on July 1st.
Filppula left for a total of $500,000 more than the Wings paid Stephen Weiss to replace Filppula, but there are no hard feelings between player and former team or teammates.
Filppula spoke with Michigan Hockey's Nick Barnowski while attending Michigan State University's summer alumni camp, which includes Drew Miller, Justin Abdelkader, Jakub Kindl, Filppula and former Wing Daniel Cleary among its attendees (the skates take place around 11 each morning, and they're open to the public), and Filppula's ready to move on:
'It’s bittersweet,” the 29-year-old said after the first day of a week-long camp on the campus of Michigan State. “It’s definitely a tough team to leave. I had a great time over here, great organization, great players I got to play with.”
“It’s a new beginning. I’m really excited about Tampa,” he said. “Obviously Yzerman was a big part of the decision, I talked to him quite a bit before.”
With his struggles to produce offensively in Detroit behind him, Filppula is excited to start his new life in Tampa.
“I’m happy with how things went,” he said. “They have a young team, a good future ahead of them. The main thing is always about hockey but living wise it’s going to be a little bit of a difference.”
Second line center was a hole on Tampa’s depth chart heading into free agency, and signing Filppula was one of Yzerman’s main goals. The Lightning are hoping he can produce similar to what he did in the 2011-12 season, where he had 23 goals and 43 assists.
Miller said it’s “weird that Val is a former teammate,” and despite the fresh start, it will still be tough for him to come back and play against his old team. The Lightning are now in the same division as the Wings, and Filppula’s first chance to face Detroit will be on November 9 at Joe Louis Arena.
“[Coming back] will be emotional for sure, the first couple of games,” he said.
Continued, and here's info about the pro camps:
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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.