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VALTT-ING TO THE NHL

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday recalled left wing Valtteri Filppula (VAHL-tuhr-ee FIHL-poo-luh) from the Grand Rapids Griffins. He will be available to make his NHL debut on Thursday, when the Red Wings face the Florida Panthers in an 8 p.m. start at the BankAtlantic Center.

Filppula, a 21-year-old native of Vantaa, Finland, is enjoying a spectacular North American debut with the Griffins. His 11 goals, 15 assists and 26 points each place third on the club, and he is currently tied for 16th in the American Hockey League scoring race.

The CCM Vector/American Hockey League Player of the Week for the period ending Nov. 20 (5-6—11, plus-nine in four games), Filppula has tallied points in 11 of Grand Rapids’ last 14 games (7-12—19). He’s established himself as the Griffins’ most proficient shootout performer by scoring on four of six attempts, including a pair of clinching goals and two others which extended shootouts to sudden death.

Detroit’s third choice in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft, Filppula had a remarkable amateur (2000-03) and professional (2003-05) career in Finland. He paced the Finnish Junior League in scoring in 2002-03, then guided his country to a bronze medal and was named to the First All-Star Team at the 2004 World Junior Championship. Last spring, Filppula led Jokerit Helsinki to the league finals by placing fifth on the circuit in playoff scoring (5-6—11).

Filppula is the sixth member of the Griffins to be recalled by the Red Wings this season and is poised to become the 75th Griffins alumnus to play in the NHL.

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