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Let's talk about Ville Leino

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Old
08-09-2011, 04:41 PM
  #51
Moskau
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Only on HF could someone compare this contract to Redden's.

Ruff wants to try him as Center and believes he has the playstyle to make it work but nowhere has it been said that it's Center or Bust for Leino. Buffalo is not that strong on the Left Side as an organization and it's very possible if Regier finds a Center option Leino will be playing LW next year if he doesn't work at LW.

When you look at the UFA group next year Leino would still be one of the best options. And it's been stated in a few interviews with Leino and Holmgrem that Buffalo's offer was not the only one on the table. In fact IIRC a team offered him more per year (probably Florida) but Leino either went with Buffalo instead or Buffalo had a longer term.

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08-09-2011, 04:42 PM
  #52
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Originally Posted by Talks to Goalposts View Post
4.5 million for 6 years was a terrible decision by the Sabres.
I love statements like this. Another armchair GM who has all the answers and can fortell the future. I understand you're allowed to form your own opinion, but how about you wait to see how it works out instead of acting like you know more than someone who actually has worked in the NHL for years (Darcy)?

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08-09-2011, 04:44 PM
  #53
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He is one spinarama away from being badly injured. Someone before me said he was getting crushed vs the hawks in the SCF and that's true. His favourite play is to skate down the wing, cross the blue line, hit the brakes and spin. I don't know if he's going to attempt that playing centre but it's not worth the risk!

We'll see how he gels with new linemates and playing at centre. He really tailed off badly early in 2011 and his line was destroyed by Boston in the playoffs but that was Lavi's fault for putting him up against Krejci's line.

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08-09-2011, 04:46 PM
  #54
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I have a feeling he will disappoint some Sabres fans. His linemates likely won't ever be as strong as they were in Philly.

He has potential, though.

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08-09-2011, 04:48 PM
  #55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Begbie View Post
I love statements like this. Another armchair GM who has all the answers and can fortell the future. I understand you're allowed to form your own opinion, but how about you wait to see how it works out instead of acting like you know more than someone who actually has worked in the NHL for years (Darcy)?
Good post. People can't seem to get it in their heads that in this day and age you almost always pay higher in the free agent market. Especially when the market is as thin as it's been in years. If the sabres don't pay this guy that kind of years/money, then there are other more desperate teams who equal that or give him more.

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08-09-2011, 04:51 PM
  #56
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Originally Posted by The Red Line View Post
I have a feeling he will disappoint some Sabres fans. His linemates likely won't ever be as strong as they were in Philly.

He has potential, though.
Scroll up some posts and you'll see one comparing Philly's line to the one he'd be on in Buffalo. You could argue that Ennis and Stafford aren't as good as Briere or Hartnell, but neither are pushovers offensively and have similar styles to both players.


Last edited by killface: 08-09-2011 at 05:00 PM.
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08-09-2011, 04:52 PM
  #57
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Originally Posted by Talks to Goalposts View Post
Leino has had one good season playing in what was probably the most favorable situation of any forward in the NHL last season.

-Played against 3rd line level of competition on a line sheltered by Richards, Carter and Giroux playing against the opposing top lines.

-Played with two established top-6 players for essentially the entire season (Hartnell and Briere) against said 3rd line comps.

- Still got a high amount of ice time on even strength (13.42 minutes per game), again despite playing against weaker players.

- Got regular powerplay time (over 2 minutes per game)

- Extremely favourable starting point in terms of faceoffs (62.3% offensive to defensive zone start ratio, 12th among forwards that played 60 games)

- More than his share of puck luck with a team ES on ice shooting percentage of 10.07%

- Has had only one particularly stand out season in Finland or the AHL.

- Is already 27 years old so is more likely to decline than improve.

In short he is an unestablished player that had all of the benefits of a top-six forward with the responsibilities of a weak third line player. 4.5 million for 6 years was a terrible decision by the Sabres.
This argument is based off of Leino's low qualcomp, which is fine, except qualcomp is really only useful in determining a players' defensive responsibilities, not the level of defensive play they were faced with. While it's true the Leino-Briere-Hartnell combination were one of the most purely offensive lines in the whole league, that doesn't mean they played against scrubs. It means they were often matched up against the opposition's best defensive lines. At the very least, that was the case against Buffalo, where they saw Gaustad, Kaleta and Myers pretty much exclusively.

And he was either 6th or 7th in PP time for Flyer forwards, depending on how you count Versteeg. Not great numbers. And he's had one strong season in the NHL, one incredible playoffs and one solid one, not to mention a ridiculous year in Finland and another above average one.


Last edited by struckbyaparkedcar: 08-09-2011 at 05:03 PM.
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Old
08-09-2011, 05:06 PM
  #58
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Originally Posted by struckbyaparkedcar View Post
This argument is based off of Leino's low qualcomp, which is fine, except qualcomp is really only useful in determining a players' defensive responsibilities, not the level of defensive play they were faced with. While it's true the Leino-Briere-Hartnell combination were one of the most purely offensive lines in the whole league, that doesn't mean they played against scrubs. It means they were often matched up against the opposition's best defensive lines. At the very least, that was the case against Buffalo, where they saw Gaustad, Kaleta and Myers pretty much exclusively.
This isn't the 80's anymore. The 3rd line as a dedicated defensive unit is very much a minority strategy. Most 1st and 2nd lines play more because they are stronger two-way units than a team's third line. And even if they faced lines more that are more defensively oriented then they'll get more offensive opportunity from their opponents lesser ability to generate their own offensive pressure.

The other key to the matter is it is completely unknown at this point whether Leino has good enough defense to play a 2nd line role. His offensive skills will mean zilch for his team if the other team's 2nd lines score even more in exchange.

The take away story is its a lot harder to play against Vanek, Roy and Pomminville for example or even Stafford, Hecht and Boyes than Gaustad and Kaleta in terms of winning the matchup. And Buffalo's need for a guy that can help a 2nd line win their matchup would be the main reason to spend money on a free agent center.

Philadelphia didn't exactly have a huge spread in PP TOI. The highest was Giroux with 2.98 to Leino's 2.30 minutes per game. How much more time exactly will he get on a Buffalo team that is going to have Vanek and Roy as the leaders and Pomminville, Boyes and Ennis to accomodate. He's not likely to get more than a few seconds extra per game compared to last season so PP TOI isn't going to be a major factor in his production.


Last edited by Talks to Goalposts: 08-09-2011 at 05:16 PM.
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Old
08-09-2011, 05:13 PM
  #59
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Something interesting to consider is that should Leino not cut it at center, Ruff could go back to a plan he mentioned last year and stick Ennis at center. If Ennis fails at faceoffs, have Leino take them like he did in Philly.

Leino - Ennis - Vanek/Poms/Staff

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08-09-2011, 05:28 PM
  #60
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buffalo fans, get ready for a whole lot of this in the regular season:



skip to about 40 seconds.


and then a whole lot of this in the playoffs:




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08-09-2011, 05:35 PM
  #61
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Originally Posted by PhillyFlying View Post
buffalo fans, get ready for a whole lot of this in the regular season:



skip to about 40 seconds.
When you handle the puck a lot you're also going to give it away a lot.

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Old
08-09-2011, 06:02 PM
  #62
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buffalo fans, get ready for a whole lot of this in the regular season:



skip to about 40 seconds.
That's what Miller and Regehr are for.

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08-09-2011, 06:08 PM
  #63
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Originally Posted by screecwe View Post
That's what Miller and Regehr are for.
I find it kind of hilarious that immediately before the giveaway everyone's referencing, Leino makes an amazing breakout pass to spring Hartnell on a breakaway he scores on.

Not the best choice of highlight if you were trying to make a point is all I'm saying. For the longest time I couldn't figure out what you were getting at because all I was watching was the passing play

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08-09-2011, 06:20 PM
  #64
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Originally Posted by HarryNealesGarden View Post
I find it kind of hilarious that immediately before the giveaway everyone's referencing, Leino makes an amazing breakout pass to spring Hartnell on a breakaway he scores on.

Not the best choice of highlight if you were trying to make a point is all I'm saying. For the longest time I couldn't figure out what you were getting at because all I was watching was the passing play
Hah I missed that. Definitely was a beauty.

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Old
08-09-2011, 06:24 PM
  #65
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Originally Posted by HarryNealesGarden View Post
I find it kind of hilarious that immediately before the giveaway everyone's referencing, Leino makes an amazing breakout pass to spring Hartnell on a breakaway he scores on.

Not the best choice of highlight if you were trying to make a point is all I'm saying. For the longest time I couldn't figure out what you were getting at because all I was watching was the passing play
+1

I was initially impressed to see a Flyers fan giving Leino props even though hes no longer with their team. Then i realized you were just chuggin back the haterade

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Old
08-09-2011, 06:31 PM
  #66
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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?
St Louis?

50 something games in Calgary at 25 before getting traded to Tampa and playing 70 something.

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08-09-2011, 07:46 PM
  #67
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I always liked Ville and he's the only player in NHL11 with glitched out gear.

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Old
08-09-2011, 07:54 PM
  #68
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Originally Posted by HarryNealesGarden View Post
I think Leino is one of the most interesting players to keep an eye on going into 2011-12. Here's why:

One of the most controversial free-agent signings of the summer was the six year, 27-million dollar deal ($4.5M cap hit) given by the Sabres to Ville Leino. A LW who put up 53 points in 81 games last season with Philly, he played on a line with Briere and Hartnell and was generally responsible for handling the puck on the wall on offense and covering the middle / high-slot on defense.

He broke in with Detroit in 2008 as a 25 year-old, posting 9 points in 13 games and 46 points in 57 games with Grand Rapids. He struggled the following season, putting up 7 points in 42 games before being traded to Philly. He struggled to get on the ice for the Flyers, with 4 points in 13 games.

Leino burst onto the scene in the 2010 playoffs, posting 21 points in 19 games and followed it up with a good season in his first full year in the NHL. He was signed by Buffalo to play 2nd-line center (likely between Tyler Ennis and Drew Stafford), a position of which Leino himself says "I play where the coach wants me, but I played center all my life and that's the position where I feel I'm the best and am most comfortable playing."

Leino possesses good vision and is great on the dangle, comfortable carrying the puck and has a decent shot. A highlight reel is below.






So, here's the question: Will Leino live up to his contract this season? How many points will he have? Will he survive as a center? Is his playoff production alone good enough to make him worth his contract for a team with no playoff series wins since 2007? Is he an upgrade over Tim Connolly? What does HF think about this guy?

This is one of the best thread intros I've ever seen. Well done.

As for Leino, here's the reality. Switching systems, teammates, and positions all at the same time, is a lot for anybody to process. Can he, and will he be worth 4.5 next season? No.

He will struggle with the Sabres sophisticated defensive scheme just like Brad Boyes did when they moved him to center. Boyes actually played pretty well defensively, but it absorbed all of his offensive strengths. If Leino has more than 20 points by the All-Star break I will be very impressed. Having said that, I expect him to be ahead of the learning curve, and once he settles in those old center instincts will kick in offensively. It's also interesting to note that Ennis is an amazing play maker, and Leino's primary responsibility in the O-zone will likely be driving the net off the rush, to open a lane for Ennis to fins Stafford's blade or the second wave. So that's simple enough, and leino has the tools to do that task very well indeed.

By seasons end I expect him to have about 40-45 points, but more importantly I think he will be fully adjusted in time for the playoffs should they make it in. And that, is what the Sabres want more than a great regular season.

It';s critical that he know the defenive side of things inside and out, that's what I will be watching most of all.

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Old
08-09-2011, 08:13 PM
  #69
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I'm surprised he got as much as he did when you compare him to Teddy Purcell... similar playstyles although Teddy shoots a bit more.

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08-09-2011, 08:27 PM
  #70
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Talks to Goalposts View Post
This isn't the 80's anymore. The 3rd line as a dedicated defensive unit is very much a minority strategy. Most 1st and 2nd lines play more because they are stronger two-way units than a team's third line. And even if they faced lines more that are more defensively oriented then they'll get more offensive opportunity from their opponents lesser ability to generate their own offensive pressure.
This doesn't really make any sense cause you're blending Qualcomp arguments with actual icetime, which contradict each other in evaluating the success of Leino-Briere-Hartnell, cause they played a ton, but almost never played against the opposition's best offensive forwards. Additionally, according to qualcomp, taking an offensive zone faceoff against Henrik Sedin was a more difficult shift than taking one against Ryan Kesler. Qualcomp simply doesn't measure the ability of an offensive player to perform against tough defensive coverage.

Quote:
The other key to the matter is it is completely unknown at this point whether Leino has good enough defense to play a 2nd line role. His offensive skills will mean zilch for his team if the other team's 2nd lines score even more in exchange.
Depends on his role. He's shown to be a capable enough defensively (covering for Briere), but I don't expect him to match up against the opposition's top lines or anything. And that's also not why Buffalo signed him.

Quote:
The take away story is its a lot harder to play against Vanek, Roy and Pomminville for example or even Stafford, Hecht and Boyes than Gaustad and Kaleta in terms of winning the matchup. And Buffalo's need for a guy that can help a 2nd line win their matchup would be the main reason to spend money on a free agent center.
Not exactly. Yeah, you "won" the matchup if your team's first line scored a goal in a series, while the line matching up didn't score any, but let's say your opponent's first line scored two goals in the series, while your best defensive line was also held off the scoreboard. It's a simplistic way of looking at it, but you prolly walk away from that series more annoyed with your offensive line than your defensive line. It comes down to producing against tough defensive assignments. Leino did that in Philly, and if he can do that in Buffalo, it's a great signing.

Quote:
Philadelphia didn't exactly have a huge spread in PP TOI. The highest was Giroux with 2.98 to Leino's 2.30 minutes per game. How much more time exactly will he get on a Buffalo team that is going to have Vanek and Roy as the leaders and Pomminville, Boyes and Ennis to accomodate. He's not likely to get more than a few seconds extra per game compared to last season so PP TOI isn't going to be a major factor in his production.
It's the unit, not the minutes that matter with Leino. Who cares if he averaged 2+ minutes, if there are five or six forwards above him, he's still a bit part on the second power play unit.

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08-09-2011, 08:28 PM
  #71
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Originally Posted by Genius Brian Lawton View Post
I'm surprised he got as much as he did when you compare him to Teddy Purcell... similar playstyles although Teddy shoots a bit more.
UFA/RFA and the fact that Buffalo signed Leino to be a center.

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08-09-2011, 08:30 PM
  #72
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08-09-2011, 08:35 PM
  #73
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Originally Posted by Genius Brian Lawton View Post
I'm surprised he got as much as he did when you compare him to Teddy Purcell... similar playstyles although Teddy shoots a bit more.
Purcell was an RFA, Leino a UFA. That explains the salary difference.

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08-09-2011, 08:38 PM
  #74
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Originally Posted by Talks to Goalposts View Post
Leino has had one good season playing in what was probably the most favorable situation of any forward in the NHL last season.

-Played against 3rd line level of competition on a line sheltered by Richards, Carter and Giroux playing against the opposing top lines.

-Played with two established top-6 players for essentially the entire season (Hartnell and Briere) against said 3rd line comps.

- Still got a high amount of ice time on even strength (13.42 minutes per game), again despite playing against weaker players.

- Got regular powerplay time (over 2 minutes per game)

- Extremely favourable starting point in terms of faceoffs (62.3% offensive to defensive zone start ratio, 12th among forwards that played 60 games)

- More than his share of puck luck with a team ES on ice shooting percentage of 10.07%

- Has had only one particularly stand out season in Finland or the AHL.

- Is already 27 years old so is more likely to decline than improve.

In short he is an unestablished player that had all of the benefits of a top-six forward with the responsibilities of a weak third line player. 4.5 million for 6 years was a terrible decision by the Sabres.

There's some excellent points being made here.

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08-09-2011, 08:39 PM
  #75
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Originally Posted by struckbyaparkedcar View Post
This doesn't really make any sense cause you're blending Qualcomp arguments with actual icetime, which contradict each other in evaluating the success of Leino-Briere-Hartnell, cause they played a ton, but almost never played against the opposition's best offensive forwards. Additionally, according to qualcomp, taking an offensive zone faceoff against Henrik Sedin was a more difficult shift than taking one against Ryan Kesler. Qualcomp simply doesn't measure the ability of an offensive player to perform against tough defensive coverage.


Depends on his role. He's shown to be a capable enough defensively (covering for Briere), but I don't expect him to match up against the opposition's top lines or anything. And that's also not why Buffalo signed him.


Not exactly. Yeah, you "won" the matchup if your team's first line scored a goal in a series, while the line matching up didn't score any, but let's say your opponent's first line scored two goals in the series, while your best defensive line was also held off the scoreboard. It's a simplistic way of looking at it, but you prolly walk away from that series more annoyed with your offensive line than your defensive line. It comes down to producing against tough defensive assignments. Leino did that in Philly, and if he can do that in Buffalo, it's a great signing.


It's the unit, not the minutes that matter with Leino. Who cares if he averaged 2+ minutes, if there are five or six forwards above him, he's still a bit part on the second power play unit.
Even better counter points.

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