Posted 10 March 2010 - 12:35 AM
Right now, I'd have to give a slight edge to Filppula.
I do not think either player is playing as well as they are capable of, but the same could be said for everyone on this team at some point this season. This whole team has just been underachieving as a whole, some due to injuries that kept them out of the lineup for stretches (Filppula, Kronwall, Franzen), some due to not as obvious injuries (you cannot tell me that Zetterberg has been 100% at any point this season), some due to overuse in the absence of regular players in the lineup (Stuart, Ericsson).
If they had been healthy all season, we definitely would not be having this debate about Cleary vs. Filppula, they are both valuable role players on this team. Cleary's role is to get his nose dirty, kill penalties, and score garbage goals through hard work. Filppula's role is primarily to set up his linemates for scoring chances, be defensively responsible, and chip in goals when he gets the chance. All things being equal, Filppula should be the 2nd line/2nd PP center, and Cleary should be a 2nd/3rd line winger and a 1st unit PK forward. Neither has spent much time in the role they are best suited for and have earned through their effort, we simply haven't been healthy enough to play everyone in the role they should be in.
In a more ideal setting, Cleary is good for around 20 goals/40 points a season, and Filppula is good for 15-20 goals and 30-40 assists. Of course, when the entire team is struggling offensively, these numbers seem to fall short of what we want out of them.
For some reason, Filppula seems to be a polarizing figure on this board, and there are those who simply have nothing good to say about him and feel like it is their responsibility to rain on the parade of those who are fans of his, to quote Lee Corso "Not so fast my friend" whenever someone says anything positive about his play, to which his most ardent supporters reply with equal haste and usually result in hijacking whatever thread the conversation is occurring in. I don't get it, I don't understand how people who are fans of a team can show such blind hatred towards a member of the team they support, but that's just me.