The Tampa Bay Lightning made a pair of moves Friday to build for the future.
The Lightning signed unrestricted free agent center Valtteri Filppula, formerly of the Detroit Red Wings, and forward Jonathan Drouin, the third overall selection in this year’s NHL draft. Filppula agreed to a five-year, $25-million contract, and Drouin was given a three-year, entry-level deal.
Filppula, 29, played 41 games with the Red Wings last season and earned nine goals and 17 points. He ranked fifth among Detroit forwards for assists (eight) and points.
“We are pleased to sign Valtteri to a five-year contract today,” Lightning vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman said in a statement. “We feel he is an outstanding, all-around centerman who brings a winning pedigree to our organization. He fills a much-needed position for us at center and his skill, work ethic and character will make him a great addition to our team. On behalf of the Lightning, we’d like to welcome him to the organization.”
A native of Vantaa, Finland, Filppula has appeared in 483 career NHL games, all with the Red Wings, and has earned 100 goals, 251 points, 15 power-play goals and 12 game-winning goals.
The 6-foot, 193-pound player was a member of Detroit’s 2008 Stanley Cup-winning team, and he appeared in the postseason in each of his NHL seasons except the 2005-06 campaign, his debut year with the Red Wings. Filppula was selected in the third round, 95th overall, in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft.
Meanwhile, Drouin, 18, will participate in the Lightning’s annual development camp that begins at 11:30 a.m. Saturday in Brandon, Fla. He played 49 games with the Halifax Mooseheads of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League last season and earned 41 goals and 105 points. He led his team in goals, assists (64) and shorthanded goals with four.
The native of Ste-Agathe, Quebec, was named the Canadian Major Junior Player of the Year and the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s most valuable player. At 5-foot-11, 176 pounds, Drouin played 82 career Quebec Major Junior Hockey League games, all with Halifax. He has earned 48 goals and 134 points to go with a plus-43 rating.