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Lightning signs free agent C Valtteri Filppula as No. 2 center

The Lightning believes it found its No. 2 center as it signed free agent Valtteri Filppula on the first day teams could sign players.

The deal is believed to be five years, $25 million.

Signing a No. 2 center became a priority for Tampa Bay after it spent $32.667 million to buy out Vinny Lecavalier. Filppula, though, is coming off a poor season with the Red Wings in which he had nine goals, 17 points in 41 games. That after a 2011-12 season in which he had 23 goals, 66 points in 81 games.

Filppula, 29, missed seven games with a sprained shoulder playing in his native Finland during the lockout. He also battled some knee pain. That said, Detroit coach Mike Babcock was critical of Filppula in mid season, saying "he's got to play better."

Still, Yzerman knows Filppula from his time in Detroit, and Filppula can also play wing. That said, a $5 million per year investment is significant for a player with a lot to prove. Interestingly, Filppula got more money than Lecavalier did from the Flyers (five years, $22.5 million).

[Last modified: Friday, July 5, 2013 3:38pm]


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