Commenter Andrew at A2Y made a novel insight in the comments to the Chief's insane sign-Tucker post: Valtteri is Finnish for Walter. Flip, Fil, Val - they're all solid nicknames for Filppula and I endorse them. Me, I'm going with Wally from here on out. Don't try to stop me.
We've all got our eye on a UFA. I've got Sundin, Dave at GC's going for Rolston, the Chief as mentioned above is disturbingly in favor of Tucker. But let's get our priorities straight here. Acquiring a UFA forward is gravy at this point - this team is already Stanley Cup capable. You know what would make it significantly less Cup-capable? Losing a major cog like Wally. The, uh, YIG 6 beat me to the chase on that one. They're a pretty savvy group.
Having Wally poached by Kevin Lowe or whatever other douchebag would be a serious blow to the Wings, and to my mental health. It would be the 34.7 of Free Agency. Especially if it came on the heels of some pick-up like Sundin or Rolston that had us thinking repeat. BAM. 4.5M, 5 years. Unmatchable. Yes, Kenny has said he will match anything. But I agree with commenter Stytzer when he said that was more likely for scaring off potential poachers than true, in the comments of the Sundin post.
The fact is the Wings have their limits. Zetterberg and Franzen demand that. Yes Z has said he's not looking to break the bank and is willing to take a pay cut. He has said he wants to retire a Wing. But we don't know that about Franzen and even with a pay cut Z is going to command tremendous dollarage. I suggested 2.5M for Fil, that's a lowball estimate. Some of you said you thought it would be closer to 3M. I think that's warmer. And if Kenny can convince Wally to take his hair cut then it could be right in Dan Cleary's area.
But we don't know Wally is available for a hometown discount. Holland wanted to wrap him up during the season, but Wally's agent said no negotiations until the end of the year. Hardball. Well the season ended a a couple weeks ago and we've still heard nothing about an extension. Mike Richards just got 5M/year from Philly, a comparable player who put up 53 pts. Wally put up 36, so let's say that sets his value at 3.5M. How inconceivable is it that some team that's desperate for young talent and attention and is insanely reckless (Tampa Bay? Cough?) overpays for Wally by a measley million dollars? I don't think the Wings could match 4.5.
And Wally may not just not want a pay cut - he may want out. There's nothing to indicate that of course, I'm just going with reckless speculation at this point. But he's won his Cup. What is there left for him to do? Make mad money and be the stud on his own team, that's what. And how soon do you think either of those is going to happen in Detroit, with Wally stuck behind Z and Dats? Not for a while, I'd wager.
What if it happened? What if the unthinkable occurred? The bright side is the Wings would be up a bucketload of draft picks, which they could immediately turn around and trade for help. If the Wings did sign Sundin that would ease the pain. Rolston would make even more sense at that point since the Wings would have more room for a long-term contract without Wally's. Conceivably, without Flip's salary, the Wings could bring both in. Haven't done the math, just guessing at this point.
Ville Leino might also help ease the pain. I'm actually not expecting the Finnish C/RW to make the team due to the Wings' outstanding depth. In which case he'll go back to Finland and try his luck with a different squad next year, I'd guess. But without Filppula there'd be a need for a scorer like him.
But Leino may also give us a hint that we shouldn't be too worried - Wally was key in signing the Finn in the first place. As a countryman, Val sat down with Leino and told him to put on the Winged Wheel. That tells me Wally wasn't thinking of bolting. But I'm not convinced. Minds change, especially with money. And if we actually make it to July 1 without locking up Wally-o? I'll be under my bed until it's over. And if he's poached? I will fucking puke blood. Draft picks or no.
-Wally is the best name, like, ever
-I have turned to wanton fear-mongering
-hey Kenny: LOCK UP FILPPULA. SOON. LIKE, NOW.
-i'm scared. someone hold me
-GMs who are potentially thinking of poaching Wally: I will murder your family.
-did anybody see that discovery channel commercial? boom de yada, boom de yada... it cheers me up in an otherwise grim time.
-pleeeeeeease come back Wally