With Team Finland’s 4-3 overtime victory over Team Canada at the 2022 IIHF Men’s World Championships former NHLer Valtteri Filppula became a member of the triple gold club, meaning that he has won a Stanley Cup, Olympic Gold Medal, and World Championship Gold Medal.
Filppula is the 30th player to join the triple gold club but the first player from Finland to accomplish the feat.
From Finland to Hockeytown
Filppula was drafted by the Detroit Red Wings 95th overall in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft and after being drafted, started his professional career with Jokerit, then of the SM-liiga, winning a silver medal with them in 2005 before making the transition to North America.
Filppula joined the Red Wings American Hockey League affiliate, the Grand Rapids Griffins for the 2005-06 season and made his NHL debut with the Red Wings on December 15, 2005, becoming the first Finnish-born player ever to play a game for the Red Wings.
Filppula wouldn’t score his first NHL goal until the next season on October 28, 2006, when he scored on former Red Wing Manny Legace and the St. Louis Blues. His first playoff goal came in game one of the Red Wings 2007 first-round series against the Calgary Flames on April 12, 2007, which was also Filppula’s first playoff game in the NHL.
In his third season with the Red Wings, Filppula finished the season with 36 points and also won the Stanley Cup when Detroit defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins in six games in the 2008 Stanley Cup Finals.
Following that Stanley Cup victory, the Red Wings rewarded Filppula with a new five-year, $15 million contract to avoid having to go to arbitration.
Returning to Finland
In the final season of that contract, in the midst of the 2012 NHL lockout, Filppula signed a contract with Jokerit that was set up to last only as long as the lockout did, allowing him to immediately return to Detroit as soon as the NHL season began.
Filppula Leaves Detroit
At the conclusion of that lockout-shortened season on July 5, 2013, Filppula left the team that he had grown as both a player and person with, the team that he had spent the first seven years of his career with, to sign a five-year, $25 million contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
In his first season with the Lightning, Filppula reached a career milestone when on December 1, 2014, he recorded his 200th assist in the NHL in a 6-3 victory over the New York Rangers.
Then on January 6, 2015, Filppula played in his 600th NHL game.
Putting on the Orange and Black
Filppula would spend the next season and a half with the Lightning before being traded to the Philadelphia Flyers along with a 2017 4th round draft pick and a conditional 7th round draft pick in exchange for Mark Streit. Immediately after the trade, Streit was moved along to the Penguins for a draft pick.
Filppula Signs With the Bolts
Prior to the start of the 2017-18 season, Filppula was named as an alternate captain and spent that season with the Flyers before moving on, this time to the New York Islanders, signing a one-year, $2.75 million contract with the Isles.
In his one and only season with the Islanders, Filppula had 17 goals and 14 assists for 33 points in 72 games played.
On July 1, 2019, Filppula signed a two-year, $6 million contract to return to the Red Wings, the team he started his career with, and on February 1, 2020, he appeared in his 1,000th NHL game, becoming just the eighth Finnish born player to reach the milestone.
Leaving Detroit for the Second Time
At the end of his second stint with the Red Wings, Filppula made the decision to take his career back overseas and signed a one-year deal with Genève-Servette HC of the National League in Switzerland.
Filppula ended his NHL career with 530 points (197 goals, 333 assists) in 1,056 NHL games.
Becoming a Member of the Triple Gold Club
When Finland won the gold medal Sunday afternoon at the 2022 IIHF Men’s World Championships, it made Filppula the 30th member of the triple gold club and the first Finnish-born player to accomplish the feat.
Filppula has one more year left on his deal with Genève-Servette, which will likely be his last season of professional hockey as he is currently 38-years-old.
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