February 06, 2010
He's shown flashes of offensive spark during his time in North America that were absent in his paltry 7 points in 42 games for the Wings.
More importantly, he was counted on before the season to help replace the scoring that left Detroit during the summer. But he couldn't score, became a healthy scratch and was traded to the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday morning for a fifth-round pick in 2011 and defenseman Ole-Kristian Tollefsen(notes).
The trade ends Leino's disappointing time with Detroit, but may actually be a harbinger of good news for the team. From the Detroit News this week, before the trade:
Ville Leino is scratched for the sixth straight game -- a pretty good indication that his days here are numbered. The Wings will have to clear more than $600,000 in salary when Johan Franzen(notes) returns on Tuesday. Leino's cap hit is $800,000.
Tollefsen's an interesting addition if the Wings choose to re-sign him as an RFA this summer. He was only averaging 9:51 TOI per game on average, but was being used as a third-pairing guy with the Flyers. He's got a ton of work to do, but some Columbus Blue Jackets fans were sorry to see him take his physical game to Philly. One assumes he'll be AHL-bound with the Wings cap situation.
As for Leino, this is the Change of Scenery trade. Sometimes it's the only thing a player needs to find his game (see: Latendresse, Guillaume). Matt Saler sounded moderately surprised the return was low for Leino. The Finnish winger has another season on his contract before he goes UFA, so it's worth the investment for the Philadelphia Flyers; as GM Paul Holmgren said:
"I think he has the ability to play up and down our lineup and play with our skilled players. We're excited to have him."
For the Philly fans wondering about this enigma, here's a great breakdown of Leino's season and his options from Winging It In Motown.