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Let's talk about Ville Leino

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Old
08-09-2011, 02:38 PM
  #26
BrindamoursNose
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Originally Posted by Ryan Ellis Problems View Post
He's not Connolly, so that's worth the risk. He'll have Vanek and Stafford/Pominville/Ennis on his wing, so I'm not worried about production. Overpaid? Probably, but he filled a need.
My worry is that he's a better winger than center. I hope he plays will in Buffalo, but I don't think they found their answer at #2 center.

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08-09-2011, 02:55 PM
  #27
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Originally Posted by HarryNealesGarden View Post
He did score an OT winner in an elimination game.

The Sabres are sort of devoid of big-game players other than Ryan Miller. Connolly hadn't scored a playoff goal in 29 straight games. A guy who shows up would be a big help, though that alone can't justify the contract.

All non-goalie UFAs are overpaid, of course. Something we could all do a little better to keep in mind.
Ryan Miller is a big-game player?

I guess he shows up to play in some, if that's what you mean.

Winning though...

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08-09-2011, 02:59 PM
  #28
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It's going to be a wade redden type deal in the future. Leino is going to frustrate the hell out of the buffalo fans.

The good
1. He's defensively responsible.
2. He can make some great plays
3. He's good on the boards

The Bad
1. He's brutal on the PP
2. He's a turnover machine
3. His skating is terrible
4. He's going to try at least 3 spin-a-rama's a game.
5. Rarely shoots the puck.

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Old
08-09-2011, 03:01 PM
  #29
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Here's the thing. I've seen Leino in two modes, each with the Wings.

First year I really saw him, he was great. Good puck control, a nose for the net, good vision.

Second year, something happened. He was incredibly weak on the puck, never got on the scoreboard. I've NEVER seen a Wings player get knocked off the puck so easily. Worse, he seemed to fall whenever an opponent got near him. It was like watching the opposite of Datsyuk.

I believe Leino can be a very good player, worth his current contract. I've seen the flashes. I just don't know how to explain the huge downturn from 1 year to the next.

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08-09-2011, 03:02 PM
  #30
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I'm not sure if playing him as a centerman is such a great idea. Leino is a weak skater and that's a huge disadvantage for a centerman, who has more responsibilities in all three zones and has to cover much more ice than wingers. His offensive game is going to suffer if they use him as a center.

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08-09-2011, 03:05 PM
  #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HeadShot View Post
Ville Leino will fit in very well in Buffalo. In philly, he was forced to play a more defensive responsible role as Laviolette requires all of his players play both ends of the ice every shift. Ville Leino excelled in that system but Leino's offensive numbers should be a little higher in Buffalo if they let him concentrate his efforts more in the offensive end.
Not sure if you've noticed, but Ruff demands players be defensively responsible for their assignments in their own zones. He always has, he always will. The offensive side of things for him is a matter of having more involvement from the defense -- which also means having the forwards thrust into coverage roles on the point. They do not ignore defense more than Lavvy.

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Originally Posted by HeadShot View Post
Leino is highly skilled and what he lacks in speed and skating he makes up with his ability to slow the game down when he has the puck. Leino can improve but he must start thinking "shoot more" he always looks pass but thats because he gets the room but at times Leino is notorious for throwing the puck blindly across the ice at the blueline and causing turnovers which had him benched on multiple occasions. Leino also leaves himself vulnerable along the boards and has his head down a little too often.

The long and the short is that Leino will give you 50-60 points barring any serious injury but that total could increase by 10-15 points if he can play a more wide open game. I dont think he is overpayed unless his play declines then i would retract that statement.

I wish Leino the best and should definately make buffalo a better more dangerous team.
It is a gamble that he fails moving back into the middle, with the size, speed and physical nature of NHL centermen being something he's going to have to contend with all the time, rather than on rotation. That said, he's still shown he can be a productive offensive player in a supporting role, akin to what Buffalo has gotten from Hecht for years. With Hecht nearing the end now as a 34-year old, if Leino fails at center, the option is there to move him back to the wing and go shopping for yet another center. Ideal? No.

Also of interest is that the team chose the risk of converting a LW to center over their own in-house UFA Connolly. I suspect the chronic, nagging injury thing (not the concussions, but the hip, back, hip, face, ribs, back stuff) and also the complete lack of production during the playoffs since he got railed by Schaefer were considerations. I like what the player personnel side of the scouting shop does for them -- they've turned some sow's ears into silk purses over the years (see Montador, Steve as example 1a).

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Old
08-09-2011, 03:24 PM
  #32
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Leino is one of the more skilled players in the league, but I'm not confident that he can play #2 center in the NHL. Buffalo's best bet is for him to find some instant chemistry with some of their players; chemistry was a big part of his success in Philly.

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08-09-2011, 03:30 PM
  #33
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Definitely overpaid for a player like Leino. I see him more as a second line center, with Roy in the first line. That would be a great role for Leino, he could focus more on the offensive part as he's never been known for his defensive game, although it has improved a lot since his years in Finland. Is 4.5m too much for a 2nd line center? I don't know. Ask Ray Shero.

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08-09-2011, 03:34 PM
  #34
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I think the only "bad" part about his contract is not the hit, but the length. IF he does great, got a steal for a long time. If he does bad, or struggles at center, you're stuck with him for 6 years.

I see him as a 50-55 point center.

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08-09-2011, 03:38 PM
  #35
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Originally Posted by HarryNealesGarden View Post
So, here's the question: Will Leino live up to his contract this season?
No, I don't think he will. Now, I'm sure he'll do as well at C as he did at LW. The problem is that he has only one season of actual production, at age 27, and the way it was achieved: playing, along with Briere, in extremely favorable circumstances, which taking tons of offensive faceoffs against the bottom of the opponents' lineup, while being shielded by the Richards and Carter lines.

Let me emphasize that: Leino has never been a top-6 forward before.

Buffalo doesn't have the resources to shelter Leino so much, and combined with an expected dip in on-ice shooting percentage (at 10%, he was high), we should see a dip in production. He's going to get too much ice to go back to single-digit goal and point numbers (which is what he's gotten every other season), but something like 15-20-35 shouldn't be unexpected.

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08-09-2011, 03:41 PM
  #36
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i think he'll be decent, though in my opinion deals that have a higher number of years than the cap hit should be reserved for either superstars or players making under 2 million.

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08-09-2011, 03:42 PM
  #37
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Originally Posted by ShootIt View Post
I think the only "bad" part about his contract is not the hit, but the length. IF he does great, got a steal for a long time. If he does bad, or struggles at center, you're stuck with him for 6 years.

I see him as a 50-55 point center.
I think most Buffalo fans would be quite happy with a consistent 50-55 point production out of him. That would be above-average for a league-wide 2C but a little below average for a true contender.

That said, if Leino is in the lineup more than Connolly (obviously not hard), it's a step up from the previous, though not quite as big a step as I think most Sabres fans would like.

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08-09-2011, 03:44 PM
  #38
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Originally Posted by MathMan View Post
No, I don't think he will. Now, I'm sure he'll do as well at C as he did at LW. The problem is that he has only one season of actual production, at age 27, and the way it was achieved: playing, along with Briere, in extremely favorable circumstances, which taking tons of offensive faceoffs against the bottom of the opponents' lineup, while being shielded by the Richards and Carter lines.

Let me emphasize that: Leino has never been a top-6 forward before.

Buffalo doesn't have the resources to shelter Leino so much, and combined with an expected dip in on-ice shooting percentage (at 10%, he was high), we should see a dip in production. He's going to get too much ice to go back to single-digit goal and point numbers (which is what he's gotten every other season), but something like 15-20-35 shouldn't be unexpected.
It'd be hard to imagine he gets less minutes overall than he did in Philly. One might think that even with worse linemates and tougher minutes, his increased TOI would average that out and leave him back where he was - about 50 points.

Stands to reason, no? I think 35 is pretty pessimistic for a guy getting top-6 minutes anywhere. Those are 3rd-line numbers.

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08-09-2011, 03:46 PM
  #39
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Originally Posted by HarryNealesGarden View Post
Doesn't his lack of miles factor into this?

Leino played his first full NHL season at age 27. I would be quite interested to know if anyone can think of comparable players (age-wise) so we can look at whether they improved or declined going into their 30th birthdays.

I don't really know how to judge Leino's age because I'm not familiar with similar occurrences. Anybody know?
Not to self-quote, but I'm legitimately curious to see if anyone can think of any comparables?

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08-09-2011, 03:57 PM
  #40
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Leino is incredibly skilled but not a very strong skater. For a Buffalo team whose greatest asset aside from Miller is it's skating ability, the signing is a bit puzzling. Well see how he fits.

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08-09-2011, 04:08 PM
  #41
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I think he will put up 55-60 points

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08-09-2011, 04:11 PM
  #42
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I think people have a pretty good handle on Ville in this thread.

Most of us think he's not equipped to play center in the NHL, but that he's a very good 2nd line winger if he can get a little chemistry going with some linemates. He's a beast in the offensive zone and is great with the puck on his stick in that end. I wouldn't say he is great defensively by any means, but he does back-check. He's prone to some awful turnovers in the defensive and neutral zones. He's not a great skater and is easy to knock off the puck the first two-thirds of the ice but strangely becomes nearly impossible to knock off the puck the last third. He can make some highlight reel type plays.

If you expect 15-20 goals and 50-55 points a season, you should be happy. Anything more than that and you likely won't be.

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08-09-2011, 04:12 PM
  #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HarryNealesGarden View Post
Not to self-quote, but I'm legitimately curious to see if anyone can think of any comparables?
Leino played 55 NHL games in 09/10, when he was 26. A semi-decent comparison could be MSL, he played his first semi-full season (56 games) when he was 24, and he's certainly been very durable/a late bloomer.

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08-09-2011, 04:13 PM
  #44
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It'd be hard to imagine he gets less minutes overall than he did in Philly. One might think that even with worse linemates and tougher minutes, his increased TOI would average that out and leave him back where he was - about 50 points.

Stands to reason, no? I think 35 is pretty pessimistic for a guy getting top-6 minutes anywhere. Those are 3rd-line numbers.
As I noted before, Leino was getting 13.42 ES minutes per game, which would have been 3rd overall for Sabres forwards. He's not getting any more minutes there. He also got more than 2 minutes a game on the powerplay which is about what he'd get in Buffalo considering their powerplay depth chart. The only additional TOI that Leino could possibly expect is on the PK which is very unlikely and not going to help his numbers anyway.

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08-09-2011, 04:19 PM
  #45
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Originally Posted by BrindamoursNose View Post
My worry is that he's a better winger than center. I hope he plays will in Buffalo, but I don't think they found their answer at #2 center.
How would we know that? He's never played there. I don't recall Zetterberg ever playing center full time until he embarrassed Crosby two years in a row.

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08-09-2011, 04:23 PM
  #46
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How would we know that? He's never played there. I don't recall Zetterberg ever playing center full time until he embarrassed Crosby two years in a row.
Just to clarify, he's never played there in the NHL.

Leino has said himself that center is his natural position and where he prefers/wants to play, despite being used on the wing in Detroit and Philly.

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08-09-2011, 04:25 PM
  #47
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Hasn't it been like 3-4 years since Leino even played center?

Paying an LW to play center instead of actually going after a center is a gamble IMO.

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08-09-2011, 04:26 PM
  #48
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It's going to be a wade redden type deal in the future. Leino is going to frustrate the hell out of the buffalo fans.
How do you figure that? This isn't an overpayment like Redden was, nor is there a chance the guy ends up in the minors or anything. If you mean we'll hate him like rags fans hate Reddin I'd have to disagree there too. Most sabres fans just want a better player than Connolly, and if he can get 50 points or more, play 70+ games, and at least TRY in the faceoff circle then he's an automatic improvement. At the very worst he ends up not working out at center and shifts to wing where he will have fewer responsibilities.

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08-09-2011, 04:28 PM
  #49
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How would we know that? He's never played there. I don't recall Zetterberg ever playing center full time until he embarrassed Crosby two years in a row.
I'm just saying that based off of his time here in Philly, I think he's more useful as a winger than as a center.

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08-09-2011, 04:33 PM
  #50
World Is Not Phaneuf
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Leino's last season as a center was 2006–07 FEL season. He scored 40 points in 50 regular season games. The nxt season he played mostly on wing and he absolutely dominated the FEL, scoring 77 points in 55 reg season games(and 19 points in 14 playoff games).

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