Skilled two-way forward Valtteri Filppula was born March 20. 1984 in Vantaa, Finland. A product of the famed Jokerit Helsinki system, Filppula's strong play both domestically and as a member of the junior national team at the U18 and U20 levels led the Detroit Red Wings to select him in the third round (95th overall) of the 2002 NHL Draft.
The 6'0", 196-pound Finn made the jump to North America in 2005-06. After serving an American Hockey League apprenticeship with Grand Rapids, Filppula became an NHL regular with the Red Wings in 2006-07.
Filppula displayed well-rounded versatility on his game, above-average playmaking skills and his ability to play center or wing with equal skill made him a valuable player for Red Wings coach Mike Babcock. Filppula was a member of the Red Wings' Stanley Cup winning 2007-08 squad and played in the Stanley Cup Final again the next season. His best offensive season in Detroit came in 2011-12 when he posted 23 goals, 66 points and a plus-18 rating.
On July 5 2013, as an unrestricted free agent, Filppula signed a five-year contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning. He paid dividends his first season, posting a career-high 25 goals in a 58-point campaign. Filpppula played his 600th NHL game on January 6, 2015. He played in his third Stanley Cup Final series that spring.
As Filppula's career in Tampa Bay progressed, the team's offensive depth contributed to his role changing somewhat to emphasize his defensive skills. He remained a productive five-on-five performer and good playmaker but had fewer scoring opportunities.
In addition to his play in the NHL, Filppula was a frequent selection for the Finnish national team. Most notably, he played in the 2010 Olympics and 2012 World Championships.
The Flyers acquired Filppula from the Lightning on trade deadline day (March 1) of 2017. In exchange for Filppula, the Flyers traded veteran defenseman Mark Streit. Philly also received fourth-round and seventh-round picks in the 2017 NHL Draft. The Lightning then immediately flipped impending unrestricted free agent Streit to the Pittsburgh Penguins.