Report: Valtteri Flippula rejected a trade to the Leafs

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(Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)

As the Leafs continue to impress this year and take the league by storm, it goes to show that you don’t need a bevy of veterans to win in this league. Now as the Leafs try to pick up some veterans to fill in some roles on the team, they’re finding that some players don’t necessarily want to come to Toronto.

Renaud Lavoie of TVA has reported that Valtteri Filppula rejected a trade that would’ve sent him to the Leafs with Brian Boyle.

Why would Filppula turn down a trade when the team is playing so well? A couple of reasons immediately spring to mind.

Getting Brooks Laich’d

This is the first theory that comes to mind when trying to wrap your head around why Filppula would reject a trade. The Leafs have buried plenty of salary in the AHL and they have shown that they don’t particularly care if it hurts the players’ feelings.

The Leafs have buried Brooks Laich, Colin Greening and Milan Michalek. All on the downside of their careers. They believe they could still be serviceable in the NHL.

It is a tough business but to some, the Leafs seem particularly cold-blooded.

Is that really what Filppula could’ve been thinking though? He still performs at a high rate.

Filppula is no slouch and would have to think very lowly of his game if this is what he thought would end up of him. He is on pace for just over 40 points this year, a rate that would place him firmly in the middle six on most teams in the league. His underlying numbers are the exact same way. Not out of this world but solid, nothing to scoff at if you’re a NHL team.

The more likely culprit of the bunch would be who is behind the bench for the Leafs.

Not liking Babcock?

It is a silly question to pose but it has to be done after the reported rejection. Filppula played for Babcock from 2005-06 to 2012-13. That is a very long time in this league. The league is more like musical chairs than anyone will let on. Most of the lower level players are switching teams constantly and trying to find a home.

Filppula isn’t a lower level player but it is amazing that he was able to stick with the Wings the entire time. Those were some great teams he was on and at times was a real important contributor to it all.

Wouldn’t that mean that some great memories were made? Or could it be that relationships were damaged to a certain extent that they couldn’t be mended. 

The second part is a bit too TMZ for me, although a lot of the business of hockey is based on relationships made on and away from the ice. If they couldn’t get along it is a strong reason for Filppula to exercise his modified no-trade clause and no movement clause.

Player Freedom

The most likely scenario of the entire darn thing is he didn’t want to leave Tampa, Florida. Can you blame the guy? He doesn’t have to pay any income tax and he is making $5 million a year. Put it altogether, why would he want to move?

That is the entire point of having this clauses in the contract that gives the ability of rejecting trades. He isn’t supposed to bend to his organization’s will at the drop of the hat. It is his right to stay in Tampa Bay if he pleases. While Toronto is a fine city, being warm all the time is a definitive win for some people.

It doesn’t always have to be so black and white when discussing players, surely there is more nuance to this than we know from a single tweet. The info will begin to trickle out bit by bit. 

Filppula wasn’t going to make or break this team. It would’ve just been a damn nice piece to have.

[Stats courtesy of Hockey-Reference]