– Moving from one line to another is almost common place for Red Wings’ forwards. But shifting positions – from center to a wing – is altogether different, yet a welcome change for Valtteri Filppula
With one glaring exception though. The Finnish forward must now put up with two Swedes – center Henrik Zetterberg
and power forward Johan Franzen
“Yeah, that’s tough,” said Filppula, with a laugh.
All kidding aside, for Filppula, he understands that there’s an opportunity this season to product more points from a forward position by playing up with Zetterberg and Franzen.
“I think we have a good line and that we should be able to play real well, and do a lot of good things out there,” said Filppula, who had a goal in Thursday’s 4-3 shootout win over Philadelphia. “So hopefully, as the preseason goes on and into the season, we can be a good line for us.”
Used greatly as a third line center in the past, Filppula sees great potential in playing with Zetterberg, who has averaged 29 goals a season, and Franzen, who is known for scoring goals in bunches.
“Playing with those guys, I expect a lot of myself if I get to play there,” Filppula said. “I definitely should have a lot of opportunities to get to play a lot. And when you play more you expect more of yourself, too. If that’s going to be our line, I’d hope that I would do well.”
However, don’t expect Filppula to predict a goal total for himself this season.
“I obviously want to do better than I did last year, but that’s kind of the mindset that I’ll go through every season,” said Filppula, who scored 16 goals last season. “I want to do better. But if I start thinking about it too much, it’s only going to hurt you, I think.”
So then, if not statistically, how does Filppula gauge on-ice performance?
“There are a lot of things on the ice that you can do better, like play better defensively,” he said. “And of course, if I get to play on the power-play, and play a lot of minutes then I expect more offense from myself.
“If you play well and you get to play in different situations, then the points will come. I think that’s kind of extra pressure on myself to think about points. I always think if I play well, then the points will come. … You see the guys who normally play well, they’re the guys who get the points. I think that kind of goes hand-and-hand.”
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