After being bought out by the Buffalo Sabres in June and joining the Boston Bruins on a tryout contract last month, Ville Leino was hoping for a second life in the NHL. That came to an end when the cap-strapped team finally signed RFA's Reilly Smith and Torey Krug, meaning someone had to go.
With no further interested parties in the NHL, Leino has decided to take his game back to Europe after signing a one-year deal with Medvescak Zagreb of the KHL.
"Leino is a shooter with a rich sporting pedigree. You will think immediately feel in matches and provided a true leader. He will now be able to be entrusted with the role players in the first line and we believe it will help us in situations with players more. Leino had numerous other offers, but had heard great things about Centar, Zagreb and our fans and decided to come here. He's happy to be part of our club," said athletic director Medveščak Aaron Fox.
Medvescak is quite familar with former NHLers. They currently boast a roster featuring the likes of Mark Flood, Shaone Morrissonn and Anthony Stewart. Last season, their leading scorer was one-time Rocket Richard Trophy winner Jonathan Cheechoo, who's now playing with Dinamo Minsk.
Before joining the Detroit Red Wings organization in 2008, Leino played in the SM-liiga, posting a 28-goal, 77-point season with Jokerit during his final season in Finland back in 2007-08. Still only 31, maybe a year in Europe could allow him to find his game again and take another shot at that second life in the NHL in 2015?
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