Tampa Bay Lightning center Valtteri Filppula has been named alternate captain for Team Finland at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.
The Tampa Bay Lightning have had quite the interesting off-season. As usual, there have been players coming and going, as well as a number of players who have secured their long-term futures in the Sunshine State. Thankfully for Lightning fans, the off-season is nearing its close.
In just 33 more days, the first official puck drop of the 2016-17 Tampa Bay Lightning season will be taking place at the Amalie Arena in front of 19,000-plus screaming Lightning fans as the Bolts take on the Detroit Red Wings. Surprisingly enough, there’s something even more exciting heading the way of hockey fans.
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The 2016-17 season is a little different than seasons past. This season, fans will get what we lovingly refer to as bonus hockey. On September 17th, some of the best talents in the National Hockey League will be headed to the Air Canada Centre, home of the Toronto Maple Leafs, for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.
As most Tampa Bay Lightning fans know by now, the Lightning are more than well represented at the international tournament. The Lightning have a total of 12 players representing their native countries at the upcoming World Cup of Hockey.
The Bolts would’ve had 13 players at the World Cup of Hockey had Lightning alternate captain Ryan Callahan not been injured and forced to miss time away from the ice due to a labral tear that required surgery to repair.
Speaking of Tampa Bay Lightning players at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, it seems as if one Lightning player has been placed in a position of leadership by their respective country. Tampa Bay Lightning center Valtteri Filppula has been named the Alternate Captain for Team Finland.
Filppula will be joined by another well-known Finnish player at the tournament. Team Finland has also named Minnesota Wild captain Mikko Koivu as their captain.
Valtteri Filppula definitely brings a plethora of veteran experience with him on his journey to the two-week international tournament. Filppula is entering his 12th season in the National Hockey League after being drafted in the third round (95th overall) in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft.
The 32-year-old Vantaa native spent eight seasons with the Detroit Red Wings before making his way to the Tampa Bay Lightning. One of his most gleaming accomplishments was winning the Stanley Cup in 2008 with the Wings as well as winning the Bronze Medal with Team Finland at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.
The Finnish forward played in 76 regular season games with the Tampa Bay Lightning last season. In that amount of time, Filppula was able to score eight goals and 23 assists for a total of 31 points. Filppula’s contributions did not end with the regular season. During the postseason, Filppula scored one goal and six assists for a total of seven points.
Given the amount of Tampa Bay Lightning players heading to the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, it’s going to be rather difficult to pick which team Lightning fans want to cheer for. No matter what fans ultimately decide, the one thing we know for sure is we are in for one wild ride, and we can’t wait to see how things play out.