2011 NHL Free Agency: A Look at Ville Leino

As we've pointed out here many times on DBD, the Dallas Stars badly need a new owner. As we've pointed out a few times, expecting that new owner to make a splash in free agency to bring in new players might be a little too much to expect given the thin pool of free agents beyond one Brad Richards.

There's just not much out there; the good news is that the free agent class of 2012 looks quite promising.

Rest assured, there are a few attractive names out there this year. And in case the ownership situation gets resolved, some of these names would look good as complimentary players to Brad Richards, Jamie Benn, Brenden Morrow, Mike Riberio, et al.

Today, I'll look at Ville Leino of the Philadelphia Flyers.

Why he'd fit in

You could say Leino has become in Philly the last two years what the Stars thought they were getting in Fabian Brunnstrom. At least from a production standpoint.

At 182 pounds, Leino doesn't have the size Bunny possesses and thus, would never frustrate Stars fans with not using his body. But I digress since I'm not here to dig up frustrations with past players.

Point is, Leino would make a nice addition to the scoring depth. Of which, it was sorely lacking last season when injuries hit in the second half.

You'll recall that after the Red Wings released him in 2009-10, he went to Philly and became a playoff sensation during the Flyers Cup run putting up a 3.72 P/60.

Last season, he posted a respectable P/60 pf 2.21 in 81 games with the highest average TOI/60 that he's ever received in his career at 13.42 (All of Leino's metrics can be found at Behind The Net)

Why it won't work

Of course, that came on the heels of an ugly 0.86 P/60 with Detroit and Philadelphia during the 2009-10 regular season.

And in 11 games in the playoffs this season, Leino posted a P/60 of 0.78, indicating he's a streaky player as far as offense goes.

And considering the Stars just traded a streaky James Neal...

Final Verdict

If you can keep Brad Richards, you should have enough coin to also go out and sign Leino. Assuming, of course, there's mutual interest.

Philadelphia will probably have a hard time re-signing him as they're already up against the cap and you figure Leino's going to get a nice raise from the $800,000 he made last season. Not to mention, Claude Giroux's extension kicks in, vaulting his cap hit from $821,666 to $3.75 million.

But if the ownership situation is sorted out and Brad Richards goes elsewhere in free agency, I'm not sure it would make much sense to go out and try to "replace" him with a Ville Leino. As an addition to the team, however, he could be an added scoring boost in the wake of Richards' departure, if the Stars were able to get other help as well.

Just a piece of the puzzle.

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