Ville Leino was picked up by the Philadelphia back in February, and at the time it was seen as a dump by a Detroit Red Wings team that was ready to get Johan Franzen back in the lineup. And although our Flyers blog, Broad Street Hockey, classified Leino as a "low risk, high reward" type acquisition, nobody knew at the time that he'd become such a major player in the Flyers plans come playoff time.
Paul Holmgren talked about the importance of the Leino pickup at Cup Final media day on Thursday.
We thought our scouting staff at the time really thought that Ville could bring an offensive mind?set if he got the opportunity to play with like players. You know, we got a chance to play with Danny Briere or Jeff Carter, Mike Richards, guys that have offensive instincts like Ville, he could help us.
Unfortunately for Ville, he had to work his way into the coach's good graces before he got a chance to play. He spent a lot of time as a healthy scratch for our team initially. To Ville's credit, he never made waves. He showed up at the rink with a positive attitude, and he worked hard off the ice and on the ice to be ready for his opportunity. Up to this point, he seizes that opportunity. So it's encouraging to see.