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Up-to-the minute updates and insights from the Red Wings locker room at home and on the road. By Chuck Pleiness of The Macomb Daily.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Red Wings sign Finnish free agent

The Red Wings have signed Ville Leino, a 24-year-old unrestricted free agent. Leino was in Detroit, Friday, hearing a pitch from the Red Wings before signing an entry-level deal.

Leino was in the same position that Swedish free agent Fabian Brunnstrom was before signing with Dallas this week in that he could sign with any NHL team with no compensation going to his Finnish club.

Leino was second in the Finnish elite league in scoring this season with 77 points in 59 games. His 28 goals were third in the league and his 49 assists topped the circuit.

Detroit general manager Ken Holland said tonight that the Red Wings are interested in Leino and that the Finn would likely spend his first couple of weeks next season in Grand Rapids to get acclimated to the North American game.

"He's a good hockey player," said Holland. "He wants to come over to North America. He's good down low. He led the Finnish league in scoring (second), so he's got a scoring touch. His goal is to play in the NHL."

Leino spent five seasons in the lower levels in Finnish hockey. He hadn't scored more than 12 goals or 43 points in a season before coming to Jokerit of the elite league this winter.

Before this season, the Red Wings added a Finnish scout, Ari Vouri, to their European staff.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, Ville had 28 g & 49 a for 70 pts in 55 games. That was second in the SM-liiga.

May 10, 2008 at 8:20 PM 
Anonymous Knight said...

Good cath by Wings! I think you get much better player than Brunnstöm. Leino was the most dominate player in Finnish SM-Liiga in last 3 years period. He led HPK to Champions in 05-06, and he´s always been giving his all in playoffs.Ville is like magician with puck, covers it well and gives genius passes. Major weakness is his defansive play, shot could be better too. He played until last season as a center, but was moved as winger in Jokerit and that place seems to be stronger with less defensive duties. One year in farm could be good thing, but I think he wouldn´t like that idea. Only problem is current Wings roster. He needs place in offensive lines. I hope Leino gets good change to show whats he made of.
http://www.eurohockey.net/players/show_player.cgi?serial=22256

May 11, 2008 at 10:14 AM 
Blogger Baroque said...

This comment from James Mirtle's post made me actually lol.

At 10:40 PM, May 11, 2008, saskhab said...

Man, over the past couple weeks I came up with a conspiracy theory about Detroit and Brunnstrom, saying their interest was merely to create a frenzy to divert teams from the real prize, a (to me, at least) unknown, unheralded guy that they were going to sign anyways and be better than Fabio.

This is hilarious.

May 11, 2008 at 11:46 PM 

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