In a bit of a surprise, Anaheim GM Michael Stafford waived veteran center Valtteri Filppula with one game remaining in the regular season.
Before the final practice of the season, Filppula was seen cleaning out his locker then heading towards the players parking lot followed members of the press. Before getting into his 2019 Camaro SS, Filppula took one question from beat reporter Steve Fryer.
“Val, can you tell us why you didn’t take the ice with your teammates to prepare for the Penguins?”
“When I arrived at the rink, Coach Quinn called me into his office and told me I'm being released," replied Filppula. "I asked why and was told I underperformed on the ice this season and I won’t be traveling with the team to Pittsburgh.”
Obviously angered, Filppula then drove off leaving tire tracks in the parking lot.
Quinn was busy prepping for the Penguins, so Fryer tracked down Ducks GM Michael Stafford. When asked about the move, Stafford defended it.
“I know that I said roster moves were imminent after the season’s final game, but circumstances facilitated this decision.”
Fryer asked, “Mike, can you give us a little more detail.”
“Ok, I will,” Stafford replied.
“I’m not going to mince words. As you know, when we entered training camp, we were loaded with veteran centers and one of them was Valtteri Filppula. He was told that he would center the fourth line and promised to take that roll seriously.
"It looks like we had a disagreement of the meaning of the word seriously. I’ll let Coach Quinn elaborate on that.”
After practice, Quinn was cornered and asked to comment on Stafford’s harsh words.
“Guys, all I can tell you is that Valtteri Filppula was not happy with his playing time this season and in my opinion did not give his all with the minutes of ice time he was allotted in games. The Duck organization wishes him well and hopes he will be picked-up from waivers in time for next season.
"I will be in touch later today with Coach Stevens of the Gulls to see who is available to fill the roster spot.”