To many, the Tampa Bay Lightning replaced long-time center Vinny Lecavalier with Valtteri Filpulla this summer.
While the former Detroit Red Wings center seems primed to fill that second-line pivot spot, Bolts GM Steve Yzerman told NHL.com that he’s expecting to see a player with different strengths.
“Val is a totally different type of player than Vinny,” Yzerman said. “He’s a good, solid, all-around complete player who checks and wins faceoffs. We can score goals, but we need to become a better defensive team, and Val is the type of player who can play that game, in all those situations.”
It’s also plausible that 2013 second overall pick Jonathan Drouin can help make up some of the offensive punch that the Lightning lost with Lecavalier’s buyout.
Regardless, Filppula wants to create more offense than he did in a tough 2013 season.
Yzerman would gladly take that, and strong puck possession from the 29-year-old after handing him a five-year, $25 million contract.
Following his stunning 41-game suspension, it looks like Raffi Torres has at least one former teammate in his corner.
We haven’t yet seen how the San Jose Sharks or the NHLPA are reacting to the league’s hammer-dropping decision to punish Torres for his Torres-like hit on Jakob Silfverberg, but Jason Demers decided to put in a good word for Torres tonight.
It was a simple message: “#FreeTorres.”
Demers, now of the Dallas Stars, was once with Torres and the Sharks. (In case this post’s main image didn’t make that clear enough already.)
Perhaps this will become “a thing” at some point.
So far, it seems like it’s instead “a thing (that people are making fun of).”
… You get the idea.
The bottom line is that there are some who either a) blindly support Torres because they’re Sharks fans or b) simply think that the punishment was excessive.
The most important statement came from the Department of Player Safety, though.
Those who feel as though the Boston Bruins may rebound – John Tortorella, maybe? – likely rest some of their optimism on the back of a healthy Zdeno Chara.
It’s possible that he’s merely limping into what may otherwise be a healthy 2015-16 season, but it’s definitely looking like a slow start thanks to a lower-body injury.
The latest sign of a bumpy beginning came on Monday, as several onlookers (including CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty) pointed out that Chara was listed on injured reserve.
As Haggerty notes, that move is retroactive to Sept. 24, so his status really just opens up options for the Bruins.
Still … it’s a little unsettling, isn’t it?
The Bruins likely realize that they need to transition away from their generational behemoth, but last season provided a stark suggestion that may not be ready yet. Trading Dougie Hamilton and losing Dennis Seidenberg to injury only make them more dependent on the towering 38-year-old.
This isn’t really something to panic about, yet it might leave a few extra seats open on the Bruins’ bandwagon.