The Flyers were said to be “in” on the Illya Kovalchuk sweepstakes, but lost out to division rival New Jersey Devils. Plan B won't excite many Flyer fans, but they don't have many options due to their cap situation.
So, Saturday afternoon the Flyers acquired Forward Ville Leino from the Detroit Redwings in exchange for Defensemen Ole-Kristian Tollefsen and a 5th Round Pick.
Leino had been a major disappointment in Detroit, and his chances had finally run out.
Scouts say Leino has a lot of potential which he's shown from time to time. He won the MVP award in the Finish Elite League in 2007 finishing second in scoring.
In 2008-09 he signed a contract with the Detroit Redwings finishing the year with 9 points in 13 games. Including, scoring a goal in his first ever NHL game.
He's struggle so far this season scoring only 4 goals in 42 games.
Leino has been criticized for lack of effort, showing laziness on the ice. Something that will have to change pretty quickly in Peter Laviolette's system. Leino is only 26-years old and is getting a second chance at the NHL level. Usually guys with his kind of talent capitalize on second chances, and a change of scenery doesn't hurt either.
He'll be used as a depth forward, most likely on the 3rd or 4th line. Laviolette's system is about energy and cycling, and learning may not come fast for Leino. The odd man out in the line-up will probably be Aaron Asham, he'll be relegated to a healthy scratch now.
This deal seems like a precursor to another. While Leino is due to make $800K this year and next, Tollefsen was due to make $600K so the Flyers actually added payroll. Though with two defensemen already on IR and now trading one, you have to imagine the Flyers are getting ready to add another defensemen. On the block could be Simon Gagne whose struggled to regain his form, also put Scott Hartnell and Daniel Briere on that list as well.
Leino will not play tonight in Minnesota.
Leino's first NHL Goal
-Ray Emery will miss his second consecutive start Tonight in Minnesota, Michael Leighton will get the start in net.
-Anton Khudobin will make his NHL debut in net for the Wild, Nicklas Backstrom has the flu and Josh Harding is still injured.
Gagne – Richards – Hartnell
Powe – Carter – Briere
JVR – Giroux – Asham
Carcillo – Betts – Laperriere
Carle – Pronger
Krajicek – Timonen
Coburn – Bartulis
About the Author
Written by Mike Santa Barbara
Sports writer covering mostly Philadelphia sports for over 10 years. Work has been featured on RealGM.com, GCobb.com and Comcast Sportsnet Philadelphia (CSNPhilly.com.)