Leino: Cause or Effect?

How about Ville Leino so far this postseason; after not playing in the first four games of the Devils’ series, he has nine points in his last eight games and has been getting a lot of time on the ice with Daneil Briere and their second powerplay unit.  Is this recent success an effect of the Flyers recent offensive outbursts? Or is Leino finally showing the talent that Detroit saw in him when they signed him in 2008?

I think it’s a bit of both. Leino is one of those players that can look like Jagr one night, and then completely disappear the next (Jagr was good at that too). At least that is how things were in Detroit when he had brief stints on the Wings’ top lines. Right now, he is playing like a seasoned veteran for the Flyers; is puck control and body position has improved tenfold from earlier in the year when he probably had Mike Babcock burning a hole in the back of his head everytime he gave the puck up.

Although it took injuries for him to get into the lineup, Laviolette has given him some room to work his magic and he is taking full advantage. If he continues playing with Briere, Hartnell and Gagne, then Leino should continue produce….and continue to grow that awesome playoff beard.

If the Flyers do go after that high priced goalie everyone is saying they will, they will have to move some money around, preferably Scott Hartnell’s $4.2 million for next season. If they make a move, it will open up a full time spot in the top six for Leino. With Carter back next year and Giroux making the transition to centre, the Flyers will have a very dangerous top nine forwards.

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