VOORHEES — For the last couple years, Ron Hextall’s had his eye on him. Now he’s finally got him.

Valtteri Filppula may answer a couple questions for the Flyers down the middle, or Hextall’s gushing over his new player might be a censure of what the Flyers already had.

Sure, the Flyers got younger when they traded defenseman Mark Streit to the Tampa Bay Lightning…by seven years. The Flyers also got a 2017 fourth-round pick from the Lightning and a seventh as well, on the condition that Streit got traded twice in one day, which he did. Streit was then flipped to Pittsburgh, where he’ll have a chance to win a Stanley Cup with the Penguins.

 

Filppula on the other hand will be part of a team trying to make a run, a “lights-out run” in Hextall’s words, just to get to the playoffs.

“Valtteri makes plays,” the Flyers’ GM said. “A scorer’s not much good if someone’s not making plays to him, right? There’s two pieces. There’s someone making the plays and then there’s someone shooting the puck. He helps us make plays. We will continue to look for finishers, so to speak. When Travis (Konecny) comes back, that will help.”

The deal is a bit of a head scratcher. Streit is on an expiring contract at a cap hit of $5.25 million. Filppula has another year left at $5 million. And when the Las Vegas Golden Knights make their expansion draft selections, Filppula must be on the Flyers’ protected list. The no-move clause he had in his contract doesn’t go away just because the Flyers were on his list of 16 teams he’d accept a trade to.

No matter, Hextall said he’d have protected him anyway.

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