After last nights game in Colorado, Red Wings fans really felt the impact Valtterri Filppula has on the game. Flip was injured early and by the end of the game it was noticeable we didn't have a dynamic second line without him on the ice. He has finally grown in to the high-octane forward Wings fans all hoped for.
It can be argued he is our second most important forward, only behind Pavel Datsyuk. Val controls the pace in the offensive zone and consistently prevents and breaks up plays in the defensive zone. He's on pace for over 70 points on the year and should, barring serious injury, easily surpass his previous career high of 42 points.
At the beginning of the season I predicted this line for Filppula:
Flips current state line:
Looking back, the 82 games was a bit of a stretch... I did expect him to surpass his previous high but I didn't think he would look as good as he has. In my opinion, he has made it quite easy to forgive Zetterberg for his underwhelming production. Now, if we can manage to have them both clicking? Look out NHL.
It sounds like his injury last night wasn't anything serious and there is a real possibility they can get him in the game tomorrow evening. They simply need to modify his skate to make it comfortable on the 1-inch gash he received while being slew-footed by an Avalanche player.
If Filppula can keep up this pace, potting even 60 points with his stellar two-way play, this will be chalked up as another Holland steal. His cap hit is sitting pretty at 3 million. That's about 3 million less than Zetterberg and 250,000 less than Jonny Eric$$on.
Let's just hope he can avoid the injury bug.