Filppula says nixing trade was ‘nothing against Toronto’

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Just prior to his trade to Philadelphia, reports surfaced that ex-Bolts center Valtteri Filppula turned down a potential move to Toronto.

On Thursday, Filppula confirmed it.

“Yeah, there was interest on Toronto,” Filppula said, per Sportsnet. “Obviously, I made a [trade] list earlier and just decided to stick with the list. Everything at the trade deadline comes at you really quick, and when you do those lists you have a little bit more time to think about things, so I wanted to just stick with that.

“It’s nothing against Toronto,” Filppula added, per The Athletic. “They obviously have a great team.”

With that, attention turned to Filppula’s relationship with Leafs head coach Mike Babcock. The two spent considerable time together in Detroit and, publicly, didn’t always appear to have the greatest relationship.

Filppula shot down that notion, however. What’s more, Babcock made a pseudo-recruitment call to Filppula prior to the deadline, trying to convince him to join the team, to which Filppula said “it was nice to catch up.”

The Leafs did eventually get a veteran center out of Tampa Bay — acquiring Brian Boyle, a Babcock favorite. It’s also worth noting Filppula had a 16-team trade list, so it’s not like Toronto was the only team he wouldn’t waive for.