Filppula talked with Leino when he was in Detroit last Friday, answering questions. Filppula, 24, is five months younger than Leino. The two were opponents in the Finnish elite league for two seasons and played against each other at the junior level before that.
Filppula offered a theory as to why Leino was not drafted and remained an unrestricted free agent up until inking a deal with Detroit at the age of 24. Filppula said that Leino played on third and fourth lines in Finland for years before being used on a scoring line for Jokerit this winter.
"He's really not that type of player (checker)," said Filppula. "Now the last year, he's been top lines and he's been able to do a lot of good things. Obviously he's been playing really well. … He has really good hands, good skill. That's what I always remember from him. He protects the puck really well."
Filppula laughed and went along with the joke when asked if it would be nice to add another Finn in a locker room with so many Swedes.