Leino is a 26-year old winger who made his North American debut last year after being signed from Finland. He had 46 points in 57 games in the AHL before being called up to Detroit where he added 9 points in 13 games.
This year, Leino was expected to play a bigger role for the Red Wings. We asked Casey Richey over at SBN's Winging It In Motown what we should expect from Leino:
The Good: Leino has a hell of a shot when he gets the space and time to fire. He was an elite scorer in Finland for a reason but it's needless to say he gets lost in the depth of the Wingss (even with the injuries the Wings have suffered through this season).
The Bad: He's probably the easiest person to knock off the puck in the entire league. He's not very strong at all and easily gets out worked in the corners and along the boards.
He has potential, but just not in Detroit. He might actually work better in a fast-paced game. The Wings have played a very methodic and trudging pace this year, and he seems like a guy that will benefit from high pace because he needs to be involved to do well.I think, plain and simple, the fact that the Wings weren't scoring at all hurt his confidence. If he gets good linemates he'll be solid, he's a pretty good passer but just not strong skater at all.
Here's another excellent read over at WIM on Leino, written a few weeks ago. It breaks down what they called the "Leino dilemma" and the heightened expectations he set for himself when he first joined the Wings last season. I highly recommend you head over there and read the whole thing to give yourself a perfect picture of Leino's Red Wings career.
Tollefsen has been a spare part almost the entire season for the Flyers, and his injury history has been well-documented. He entered the year as the team's 7th defenseman, but quickly got bypassed by Oskars Bartulis. With the addition of Lukas Krajicek, Tollefsen quickly became expendable.
Detroit also had an impetus towards making this trade. Johan Franzen is due back from injury and they had to clear room, but they felt that if they waived Leino to make the space, he would've been claimed. In picking up Tollefsen and getting a pick along with him, they can waive a guy who likely won't be claimed and they have something else to show for it.
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|2009 - Ville Leino||42||4||3||7||-10||6||1||0||1||0||54||7.4|
Those numbers are rather depressing. GVT sees him as a -2.5 contributor, which makes it look even worse. Want more bad news? He achieved these numbers against below average competition: -0.080 qualcomp; -0.248 Corsi QoC. His goals for per 60 is only 1.43 while his goals against per 60 is 2.86. When he's off the ice, Detroit scores one goal more per 60 and gives up half a goal less.
But the good news is that Leino had a 9.8 GVT in the AHL last year, good for 0.172 per game. That obviously doesn't translate exactly, but it shows potential. His last year in Finland saw him earn an All-Star selection and win Best Player of the Regular Season. Maybe he just needed a change of scenery.
Paul Holmgren has said he hopes Leino will join the team today. He likely won't play tonight, regardles of if he makes it to Minnesota on time. He's excited to be a member of the team, though.
"Sometimes things don't go as you plan it with your team," said Leino. "The trade happened, and I am happy to be going to a good team like Philadelphia. I have heard a lot of good things about Philly and I am looking forward to playing and proving myself to Philadelphia. I am pretty happy about this trade.
"I consider myself a skilled player. My talent is more on the offensive side of the rink, but I would like to consider myself as a contributor in the defensive zone, too. I am hoping to produce some offense and help the team get some points and win games."
Leino is signed through next season at a cap hit of $800,000. He will be a UFA. Tollefsen is signed at $600,000 through this season where he will be an RFA.
This is a low-risk, high-reward type of deal. Tollefsen was expendable and Leino is underperforming. But that's the important thing to remember: Leino is underperforming. Maybe he isn't going to turn it around, but this gives the Flyers depth while not giving up much.
What do you think?