NHL, Windsor Detroit Sports News


In Play! magazine 2019, Windsor Detroit Sports,


The Detroit Red Wings have signed center Valtteri Filppula, defenseman Patrik Nemeth and goaltender Calvin Pickard to two-year contracts.

Filppula, 35, was a 2008 Stanley Cup champion with the Red Wings and returns to the team after recording 251 points (100-151-251), a plus-43 rating and 158 penalty minutes with Detroit from 2005-13. He has gone on to total 948 NHL games with the Red Wings, Tampa Bay Lightning, Philadelphia Flyers and New York Islanders, registering 494 points (185-309-494), a plus-39 rating and 310 penalty minutes. The 6-foot, 196-pound forward has also appeared in 166 career NHL Stanley Cup Playoff games – 105 of them during his time with the Red Wings – tallying 86 points (25-61-86), a plus-four rating and 38 penalty minutes. He appeared in the Stanley Cup Final with the Lightning in 2015 after making back-to-back Final appearances with Detroit in 2008 and 2009 during his second and third NHL seasons.

In 2018-19, Filppula skated in 72 games with the Islanders and ranked among team leaders with 17 goals (7th) and 31 points (8th), representing his highest goal total since scoring a career-best 25 goals with Tampa Bay in 2013-14, his first season away from Detroit. His most productive offensive campaign came with the Red Wings in the 2011-12 season, notching 66 points (23-43-66) in 81 games. The 14-year veteran and Vantaa, Finland, native ranks among the top Finnish-born NHL players of all time, ranking 10th in games played and 11th in points, sitting just 52 games shy of the 1,000 game mark and six points away from 500.

Filppula, who was originally drafted by Detroit in the third round (95th overall) of the 2002 NHL Entry Draft, also appeared in 77 games with the American Hockey League’s Grand Rapids Griffins from 2005-07, racking up 74 points (22-52-74) and was an AHL All-Star as a rookie in 2005-06. He has also logged 120 games in the SM-Liiga, Finland’s highest professional league, from 2003-05 and in 2012-13, showing 63 points (21-42-63), all with Jokerit Helsinki. Internationally, Filppula scored three goals in six games at the 2010 Winter Olympics, winning a bronze medal, and has represented Finland twice at the IIHF World Championship (2012 and 2017), combining for 15 points (6-9-15) in 20 games.

Nemeth, 27, has skated in six NHL seasons with the Dallas Stars and Colorado Avalanche, posting 39 points (4-35-39), a plus-24 rating and 134 penalty minutes in 250 NHL games. He appeared in a career-high 74 games during the 2018-19 season with Colorado, recording 10 points (1-9-10), a plus-five rating and 53 penalty minutes, while ranking second on the team in hits (137) and third in blocked shots (131). Nemeth posted career-best offensive totals with the Avalanche during the 2017-18 campaign, logging 15 points (3-12-15) and leading the team with a plus-27 rating in 68 games played, while ranking fifth in the NHL with 185 blocked shots. The 6-foot-3, 219-pound blueliner has also skated in 18 postseason games between Dallas and Colorado, notching one assist and 20 penalty minutes.

A native of Stockholm, Sweden, Nemeth was originally a second-round draft pick (41st overall) of Dallas in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. He spent his first five seasons in North America (2012-17) splitting time with Dallas and the AHL’s Texas Stars, totaling 28 points (5-23-28), a plus-30 rating and 82 penalty minutes in 104 AHL games and winning a 2014 Calder Cup championship. Nemeth played professionally in Sweden before signing with Dallas, spending four seasons with AIK in second-tier Sweden (notching four assists in 17 games from 2008-10) and the Swedish Hockey League (recording one goal and nine assists in 84 games from 2010-12). He twice represented Sweden at the IIHF World Junior Championship (2011 and 2012), winning a gold medal in 2012 and leading all defensemen at the tournament with five assists in six games.

Pickard, 27, has appeared in 104 NHL games with the Colorado Avalanche, Toronto Maple Leafs, Philadelphia Flyers and Arizona Coyotes since 2014-15, posting a 32-50-9 record, 2.93 goals-against average, 0.908 save percentage and four shutouts. In 2018-19, Pickard totaled 17 NHL games between the Flyers and Coyotes, posting a 4-6-2 record after he was twice claimed off waivers (claimed by Philadelphia from Toronto on Oct. 2 and by Arizona from Philadelphia on Nov. 29). The 6-foot-1, 207-pound netminder played a career-high 50 games for Colorado in 2016-17, registering a 15-31-2 record, 2.98 goals-against average, 0.904 save percentage and two shutouts.

Originally a second-round pick (49th overall) of the Avalanche in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, Pickard has also appeared in 200 AHL games with the Lake Erie Monsters, San Antonio Rampage, Toronto Marlies and Tucson Roadrunners, sporting a career 93-71-15 record, 2.61 goals-against average, 0.915 save percentage and 12 shutouts. He was a 2018 Calder Cup champion with Toronto and won the Harry Holmes Memorial Award, awarded to the goaltending tandem with the lowest goals-against average, alongside Garret Sparks. The Moncton, New Brunswick, native represented Canada at the 2016 and 2017 IIHF World Championships, winning a gold and silver medal, respectively. Prior to turning professional, Pickard became the Western Hockey League’s all-time leader in saves (7,727) and minutes (14,025), combining for a 91-120-27 record, 3.29 goals-against average, 0.909 save percentage and 12 shutouts in four seasons with the Seattle Thunderbirds (2008-12).

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