It was almost three years ago the Buffalo Sabres signed Ville Leino to a six-year, $27 million dollar contract. After 137 games, 10 goals, and 46 points today is the first day teams can buy out players and it’s expected Leino will be one of them.
It wasn’t supposed to be like this for the 30-year-old Finnish forward.
He signed his big deal in Buffalo after a career-year with the Philadelphia Flyers. In 81 regular season games he had 19 goals and 53 points.
That big season came on the heels of his 2010 playoffs performance in which he helped lead the Flyers to the Stanley Cup Final after scoring seven goals with 21 points in 19 games before the Flyers were bounced out of the Final by the Chicago Blackhawks. As Bill Hoppe of the Olean Times Herald recalled, the Sabres were sky-high on Leino after signing him in 2011.
“We felt very strongly about Ville, and we felt it was important to make sure we didn’t allow a quality player to slip by us,” Regier said.
That’s now former Sabres GM Darcy Regier. Former Sabres coach Lindy Ruff was similarly eager to get him into action, but it just hasn’t worked.
In three seasons in Buffalo he hasn’t scored as many goals or points as he did in one season in Philly and is now likely about to be sent packing with a $7.3 million farewell check.
It just goes to show you, sometimes answers aren’t always easily found in free agency.
When you’re talking about bright sides, most people believe that they boil down to the light at the end of the tunnel for the Philadelphia Flyers.
Sometimes it’s nice to enjoy a little success in the present while waiting for that bright future, though.
The Flyers are providing at least a burst of sunshine lately, as Tuesday’s 4-2 win against the Ottawa Senators gives them … (drum roll) their first three-game winning streak of this season.
Even in recent darker moments, Philly’s been pretty impressive on offense, so Flyers fans are likely relieved to see a relative offensive outburst.
Sure, it wasn’t all rainbows and unicorns – Radko Gudas might have gotten himself into some trouble, for instance – yet this is still a nice sign of life for a team expected to finish in the draft lottery.
If that fails … hey, the future may require shades.
Here’s an understatement: things haven’t gone very well for Dougie Hamilton early in his first season with the Calgary Flames.
(It must feel like the opposite of Tyler Seguin in Dallas for Boston Bruins fans, but feel free to disagree in the comments.)
You could look at Hamilton’s meager offensive stats and break down his disappointing work through a very of “fancy” and traditional metrics …
… Or you could just fire up a projector and show this own-goal on a loop.
It remains to be seen if the Ottawa Senators can avoid losing against the Philadelphia Flyers tonight, but either way, it’s been a costly night.
The Senators saw two forwards leave the game with injuries, as Milan Michalek and Mika Zibanejad were banged up on Tuesday.
Michalek may have gotten hurt blocking a shot while a Radko Gudas hit on Zibanejad left the Senators forward with an upper-body injury.
Gudas may get a call from the league for his infractions.
In hockey terms, Patrick Kane was like a star basketball player left alone for an almost strange amount of time to score. Sometimes you miss that opportunity out of the sheer shock of getting that much time and space.
Devan Dubnyk wasn’t so lucky, however, as Kane beat him to score a 1-1 goal.
You can watch the whole sequence in the video above, including an absolutely fantastic play by Duncan Keith.
With that tally, Kane’s scoring streak is now at 20 games, leaving him one game behind Bobby Hull’s Chicago Blackhawks record.
PHT discusses Kane’s streak and his place among the all-time great runs in the clip below.