General manager Ron Hextall and the Flyers left some fans scratching their heads when the trading deadline came to a halt on Wednesday, March 1, 2017. The Flyers traded Mark Streit to the Tampa Bay Lightning for Valterri Filppula and some draft picks. Hextall wanted to infuse the struggling offense with speed and a gifted playmaker.
Valtteri Filppula was born March 20, 1984, in Vantaa, Finland. After being drafted by the Red Wings in 2002, this gifted play maker found himself struggling in Tampa Bay. Sometimes players can benefit from a change in scenery, and that is one reason why Hextall made this gutsy move to acquire him. After recently conducting an interview with Filppula, we will begin to understand why Hextall acquired him at the trading deadline.
1. How has your transition from Tampa Bay to Philadelphia been? How have the fans embraced you here in Philadelphia?
“I think the relationship, everything has been good. The fans are good, very good as a matter of fact. Not too bad from Tampa. The way I come in the players have helped me. It was difficult leaving Tampa Bay, but I could not be happier here in Philly.”
2. Did your comrades welcome you right away? Did they make you feel a part of the group?
“They made me feel right at home, right away. I mean honestly to me everyone has been nice. Maybe they’re saying something behind my back or something (Laughing and Smiling). They have been nothing but nice. It makes it easier for a player to come in, and feel accepted.”
3. I recently did an article on you right after you were traded from Tampa Bay to Philadelphia. You seem more explosive now from when I used to see you play in Tampa Bay. Did the trade give you extra motivation to succeed?
“Well you don’t notice. You just try to do your best, give it your all. Play at your best, and get ready the same way. Play the way you know how to do it. Always bring something new to the table. I feel like I need to get better. I need to be better. Its going to take time, but I feel comfortable. I feel that it always makes it easier.”
4. What is one of your goals now as a member of the Flyers?
“Well my goal is obviously to win the Stanley Cup. But, you never know in this business. Its hard. It’s a hard sport. I just want to do the best I can. I want to get better. Philadelphia has treated me well so far. I want to do the best I can for my teammates and the fans.”
5. What is one message you can give to the fans of Philadelphia?
“I will do the best I can. I will play the game hard every night. I’m proud to be a Flyer, and I just want to win. The will…will always be there. Now I just have to put it all together. Hopefully we can get it done. Im a hardworker and just want to get better.”
After completing this interview with Filppula, it is easy to see why Hextall took a gamble on him. Filppula will do everything in his power to make Flyers fans happy and proud to wear their colors. He is a class act, and has truly been an asset to this young Flyers team. Thanks in large part to the Flyers and Valteri Filppula for taking the time out of their busy days for allowing me to conduct this interview.
Mandatory Credit: Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports