The truth is, Valtteri Filppula played an important role during his Lightning tenure. Filppula signed a five-year, $5 million deal to come to the Lightning to fill the hole at center left behind by Lecavalier’s departure. With such a huge role to replace, the Lightning went out and spent some big money on the veteran center, whose offensive output did not quite fit the bill the club was stuck with.
Filppula was expected to produce like a top-two center right off the bat, even becoming the top center at times. Filppula produced 171 points over 292 games with the club. As time went on, his minutes and offensive output dwindled as he became more of a defensive forward who still served as a valued veteran presence. The lack of high-end offensive output did not validate the high price tag of five million per year. It tied the team’s hands a bit toward the end of the deal, which saw the Lightning would eventually trade to the Philadelphia Flyers in his final year.