The Buffalo Sabres still have their two amnesty buyouts from the lockout, and odds are Ville Leino will receive one of them. In fact the odds of it happening are better than the Buffalo Sabres had at getting the first overall pick in the draft lottery. (To soon?)
In three seasons with the Buffalo Sabres, he played in 137 games, scored ten goals, and added thirty-six assists. That includes the phantom game winner but zero goal, 15 assist season he had this year.
Is it really fair to buyout Ville Leino for a horrible season on a team where everyone had a horrible season? Ville Leino is not a 20 goal scorer. Ville Leino is a playoff specialist at best, better suited for a team that needs depth, that can use a player that will shine once the regular season ends. A team that can hide his average regular season stats, while cashing in on the fact that he enjoys warmer weather hockey.
But even that isn’t a fair assessment of Ville Leino’s talent. The Buffalo Sabres “settled” on Leino in the 2011-2012 season, because their new owner had money to spend and knew he didn’t stand a chance on the big names. Terry Pegula was desperate, and he brought in the guy that literally ended the playoff hopes of the previous Buffalo Sabres regime. The Buffalo Sabres signed Ville Leino after he had a breakout playoff run with the Philadelphia Flyers. Ville Leino has one good season under his belt in six attempts, and two good runs at the playoffs.
Ville Leino should be finding himself a man without a home in the coming days, and it will free up a lot of salary cap space on a team that is going to need to spend a lot to get to the floor before next season.
Might it be in the Buffalo Sabres best interest to give Ville Leino another shot? With no playoffs likely in the next season, Ville Leino, the undrafted free agent shunned by the Detroit Red Wings could find himself looking at the KHL as an option to continue his professional career, unless there is a general manager out there willing to give him a shot and write off three bad seasons as a by-product of the Buffalo Sabres implosion.