Tampa Bay Lightning center Valtteri Filppula is kicking off the 2016-17 season right and leading the way for the Bolts in scoring.
On July 5, 2013, the Tampa Bay Lightning started off the Free Agency Period with a bang. Tampa Bay Lightning Vice President and General Manager Steve Yzerman wasted no time in signing former Detroit Red Wings center Valtteri Filppula to a five-year contract.
Judging by the way the fans responded to his departure, Filppula was pretty well liked in the Steel City. This led to some pretty high expectations for the newest member of the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The then-29-year old Finnish forward had a fairly decent season when he joined the Lightning in the 2013-14 season. Filppula played in a total of 75 games with the Lightning that season. In that amount of time, he was able to score 25 goals and 33 assists for a total of 58 points.
Tampa Bay Lightning
Bolts by the Bay 5 Takeaways from the Lightning's 4-2 Win Over St. Louis
More headlines around FanSided:— You Like Jazz?: Previewing the Lightning vs Blues Matchup — Syracuse Crunch November Recap: A Month to Forget — 5 Takeaways from the Lightning's Shootout Loss in St. Louis — Gabriel Fortier Recalled from AHL Syracuse — 5 Takeaways from Lightning Loss to Wild
Unfortunately, things steadily went downhill for Filppula. It got to the point last season where some fans were calling for Filppula to be put on the trade block. The funny thing is, a lot can change over the course of the off-season.
Ever since the first puck dropped to kick off the 2016-17 season, Valtteri Filppula has been on top of his game. In fact, Flipper has scored in every game this season with the exception of the encounter on Thursday night against the Colorado Avalanche.
So far this season, Valtteri Filppula has scored three goals and two assists for a total of five points along with a plus-three rating. These numbers put Filppula in a three-way tie with Lightning captain Steven Stamkos and forward Alex Killorn for first place on the team in points scored.
I think the biggest question on the mind of Tampa Bay Lightning fans’ minds right now is where the heck this player has been over the course of the last two seasons? Valtteri Filppula is an incredibly talented player; however, it seemed as if he had fallen into a rut over the last two seasons.
The Lightning have undergone a number of changes over the last couple of seasons, and just about every one of them has been for the betterment of the team. A number of players have opted to take less money just to stay with the team they love. That means something special.
If the team can continue to work together as a cohesive unit over the course of the next 77 games, the Tampa Bay Lightning will be in a good position to make a return appearance to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Heck, with the talent they have, both on their roster and in the development system, the Lightning have a good chance of taking their game to the next level.
The Tampa Bay Lightning are headed to the Air Canada Centre to take on the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday night. All the action is set to kick off at 7:30 p.m. from Toronto. Judging by the way the Bolts have been playing so far this season, Lightning fans are sure to be in for an exciting game.