Nov 2, 2011, 3:53 PM EDT
Last night, a few Flyers met with Ville Leino for dinner in Buffalo. Marking a theme we’ve already seen a few times this season and probably will continue to, owing to all the turnover the club has seen in such a short amount of time.
Leino’s deal was one of the most talked about of the off-season, with many believing there was little chance he’d live up to it. Much like when his beardsake Jayson Werth left town, no one was crying that the Phillies should have matched the exorbitant sum he got. And, much like Werth, Leino has gotten off to a very slow start in his new digs.
The one-time playoff hero of the Flyers has not found his groove in upstate New York, scoring in his debut, but not since. In fact, he’s added just one assist since then. Only one Flyer who has played in all 11 games has two points or less — Braydon Coburn, a defenseman. Granted, Leino has a game in hand to try to eek out a few more points, but it’s hard to argue he’s pulling his weight so far for the Sabres.
Lindy Ruff will try to jumpstart Ville against his former club tonight by moving him up to the top line.
We wondered whether Leino’s absence would hurt the Flyers’ goal scoring totals. So far, it hasn’t been a problem, with the Flyers currently sitting at 2nd overall in goals per game. His former linemate Scott Hartnell has found a new home alongside Claude Giroux and Jaromir Jagr, a line combination that is on fire right now. Jagr could be seen as a direct replacement for Leino, and a more affordable one at that. So far, the tradeoff has paid off.
Despite not getting much out of their pricey off-season acquisition, Buffalo is still hanging in there with a 6-4-0 record, though they have taken on some water lately, losing 3 of their last 4. Ruff says he’s not overly worried about Leino’s slow start, noting the adjustment to a new team can often be a bumpy one that takes time to smooth out.
The Flyers, who will be without Pronger, Briere, and Read, will look to continue the solid play they showed on Saturday night against the Hurricanes. Here’s hoping for no more trips to the woods.
Puck drops at 7:30 tonight up in B-Lo before the Flyers return home tomorrow to take on the Devils.
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