Valtteri Filppula’s exit from Detroit and Stephen Weiss’ entrance is the perfect “We like him more than you” situation.
Filppula is 29. Weiss is 30. Filppula signed a five-year contract with the Lightning, expiring in 2018. Weiss signed a five-year contract with the Red Wings, expiring in 2018. Filppula makes $4 million this year. Weiss makes $4 million this year. Fippula’s cap hit is $5 million. Weiss’s cap hit is $4.9 million.
The Red Wings said Filppula was asking for too much money, then signed his replacement to basically the same contract it would’ve required to keep him in Detroit. If they wanted to keep Filppula, they could’ve kept Filppula.
On the surface level, the move doesn’t look good right now. Filppula is the third leading scorer for the first-place Lightning, registering 12 points (6 G, 6 A). Weiss has just three points (2 G, 1 A) for the Red Wings and is playing 15:44 minutes per game, two minutes less than what Filppula played for the Red Wings last year.
He’s has also been a downgrade on the power play, registering only 1:22 per game on the unit this season and not registering a point. Filppula played 2:43 on the Red Wings’ power play last season, scoring three goals.
But the offensive stats aren’t a fair comparison. Weiss isn’t being asked to do what Filppula did. The Red Wings’ other offensive addition, Daniel Alfredsson and the return of Todd Bertuzzi have taken on the offensive burden, especially with the man advantage. Weiss’ appeal was that he was a better defensive center who still had offensive ability. Anybody who’s ever watched Filppula play knows he enjoys staring at the puck and letting opposing players he’s supposed to cover walk around him. A change of uniform hasn’t changed a career of missed assignments.
Filppula has had the dangle-dangle-backhand top cheddar goals and glossy passes across the ice. He’s also had staring-at-the-puck episodes and losing coverage-as-the-opposing-player-taps-in-a-rebound moments. While Weiss hasn’t been great, he has helped stem the chutes and ladders game Filppula loved to play.
I put together Goal Responsibility Metrics for both the Red Wings and the Lightning.
As expected, Filppula has more goals created than Weiss, but it’s not by as much as you might think. Filppula has created 2.07 goals, while Weiss has created 1.41 — 0.66 difference. Since most goals are usually split among three players or more, the difference indicates Filppula has been involved in roughly two more team goals thus far than Weiss. Defensively, Filppula has allowed 2.58 goals, while Weiss has allowed 1.91.
That makes the total GRMs: Fippula -0.51, Weiss -0.5.
Nothing has changed with our old friend. Filppula is still giving up more goals than he’s scoring.
Add in that Weiss is providing a penalty killing element Filppula never did — Weiss has played 18:49 on the PK this season, Filppula played a total of 24:59 on the PK all of last season — and the move appears to be a 1-for-1 replacement at this point.
Make no mistake, Weiss hasn’t been good. But he’s been no worse than Filppula.