The New York Islanders have to look elsewhere for their center depth now that John Tavares is gone and they missed out on Ryan O’Reilly, and they’re looking at Valtteri Filppula. The team has signed the veteran center to a one-year, $2.75MM contract that will also include a full no-move clause.
Filppula, 34, is a calculated risk by GM Lou Lamoriello and the Islanders after missing out on some of the other top names. Though he’s certainly not as flashy of a signing, he still did record 33 points for the Philadelphia Flyers last season and has a long history of production in the NHL. The decision to bring him in isn’t to replace Tavares, but to give the team some more depth behind Mathew Barzal as they still try to stay competitive next season. The no-movement clause is definitely an impediment to any potential trade should the team struggle and look to move out assets at the deadline, but it could be waived should Filppula want to go to a team who is trying to win the Stanley Cup.
It may be underwhelming for Islanders fans, but there isn’t a ton of risk in a one-year deal for a veteran forward. At worst Filppula is a fine fourth-line option that will still help offensively, and at best he can be a contributing middle-six center that has experience on both the powerplay and penalty kill. The team has plenty of cap space—among the most in the league in fact—and can afford to pay out a few million to a veteran of 876 NHL games.