Filppula signs for 5 years, $15M
Filppula signs for five years, $15 million; cap crunch could force a trade in preseason
by Ansar Khan
Wednesday July 30, 2008, 11:51 AM
The Wings have signed forward Valtteri Filppula to a five-year deal worth $15 million, thereby avoiding an arbitration hearing scheduled for Friday. Filppula, 24, had 19 goals and 17 assists in 78 games last season and the Wings believe the talented all-around player has a tremendous upside.
"He's a young guy who's going to develop into one of the core players on our team, if he isn't already there,'' general manager Ken Holland said. "He's a good two-way player. The question is how much offense does he got? He plays hard, he's a good skater, he protects the puck, he's good defensively, he's a good playmaker. So many parts of his game are outstanding.''
This signing pushes the Wings right up against the cap. They are less than $1 million under the $56.7 million cap, and they still need to sign defensemen Kyle Quincey and Chris Chelios. With Chelios, it was just a case of seeing how much money they had available after signing Filppula.
Holland said they will likely head into camp over the cap, forcing them to trade somebody. He said they'll let it play out in camp and the exhibition games and then make a decision. They don't have to be under the cap until Oct. 8, the day before the season. They have 10 defensemen, only one of whom (Jonathan Ericsson) is exempt from waivers, so they'll likely need to move somebody on defense.
"We'll have to make a decision based on the 23-man roster, the salary cap and age,'' Holland said. "We'll have to be prepared to trade some players. I would expect there would be interest in some of our players.''
Holland said they're still interested in signing forwards Darren McCarty and Aaron Downey, but only on two-way deals.
I like that they were able to lock him up long term, but the $3M cap charge is going to hurt them this year. I was hoping for a two year, $4M contract to leave them a little room, but this might be best over the long haul. With only about $377K of cap space remaining, someone has got to go. My guess is that it will be Lilja ($1.25M) or Samuelsson ($1.2M).