Tampa Bay Lightning Trade Rumors: Valtteri Filppula Being Shopped Around

Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

The Tampa Bay Lightning have been surprisingly active heading into the 2017 NHL Trade Deadline, and it seems as if they’re not quite finished yet.

At this point last season, there really wasn’t a lot to talk about. The Tampa Bay Lightning were in a fairly comfortable position heading into the postseason and there was almost no discussion about trading anyone to or from the team. Unfortunately, this season has proven to be an entirely different animal.

The Trade Deadline is still two days away and the Tampa Bay Lightning has already moved two huge pieces of the Lightning lineup. The first move saw Ben Bishop head to the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for Peter Budaj and Erik Cernak along with an exchange of draft picks.

The second move, which was a little more unexpected, saw Lightning forward Brian Boyle make his way to the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for AHL forward Byron Froese and a Conditional Second Round Pick in the 2017 NHL Draft. It is kind of difficult to imagine where the team would be willing to go from here.

Tampa Bay Lightning
Tampa Bay Lightning /

Tampa Bay Lightning

Well, it seems Tampa Bay Lightning Vice President and General Manager Steve Yzerman isn’t quite done “burning the midnight oil” just yet. According to TSN’s Bob McKenzie, it is believed Yzerman is currently shopping forward Valtteri Filppula to a number of teams.

Unfortunately for Yzerman, things are going to be a little more difficult than they would seem to the casual NHL fan. With Filppula’s no movement clause (NMC) in place, Yzerman has to be a little more creative in the calls he makes in order to get a deal done.

According to McKenzie, there is a specific list of teams Yzerman is able to contact and a list in which has been excluded as a part of the NMC; however, judging by the looks of things, Yzerman is making an attempt to think outside the box once again.

Now, McKenzie does go on to say there is no guarantee Filppula will make any concessions before the deadline at 3:00 p.m. tomorrow, so when it comes to this, we may have to sit back and wait just a little bit longer. We know…the pain of not knowing really sucks.

Moving someone like Valtteri Filppula would be a really good move for the Tampa Bay Lightning; especially considering the cap crunch they’re currently saddled with. Filppula carries a $5 million cap hit until the end of the 2017-18 season where he is set to become an Unrestricted Free Agent.

Clearing out a contract like Filppula’s would give Steve Yzerman a lot of wiggle room when it comes to re-signing players like Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat, Jonathan Drouin, and the many other contracts needing renewal at the end of the season.

Filppula’s stock is definitely on the rise this season. In the 59 games he’s played so far this season, Filppula has already surpassed his numbers from the 2015-16 season. As of now, Filppula has brought home seven goals and 27 assists for a total of 34 points. These numbers place Flipper in third place on the team in assists and fifth place in overall points, right behind Tyler Johnson and Jonathan Drouin.

More From Bolts By The Bay: Ben Bishop Traded To The LA Kings

Another place where Filppula is incredibly valuable is the faceoff circle. So far this season, Filppula has won 430 of 924 faceoffs for a Faceoff Won Percentage of 46.5. This places him in second place on the team, just behind the Lightning’s other faceoff hero, Tyler Johnson, who has won 524 of 1001 faceoffs this season.

As we mentioned previously, Filppula’s stock is definitely on the rise, and if the Lightning is as desperate as they seem to clear up cap space in order to re-sign some of the many contracts which need signing this season, Flipper would be a perfect candidate for Lightning trade bait.

Right not, the Lightning’s immediate need would be a solid two-way defenseman. While Erik Cernak may be a talented defenseman, he has no NHL experience to speak of. When a team is scratching and clawing at a postseason run, you need players out on the ice who have been there before; not only to the “big game,” but those who have felt the rush of NHL competition.

Next: Lightning Trade Brian Boyle To Maple Leafs

It will definitely be interesting to see how this storyline plays out and whether or not Valtteri Filppula is indeed a piece in the puzzle Steve Yzerman is putting together this season. The window is closing for Yzerman to make a move, but we all know Stevie Y likes burning the midnight oil. We wouldn’t be surprised to see more action come before the clock strikes 3:00 p.m. tomorrow