Money talks. Plain and simple. For Philadelphia Flyers winger Ville Leino, his actions are making those words a little bit louder.
Over the past week, the franchise has been on a spending spree almost as hot as the teams current streak (9-0-1) by inking up winger Claude Giroux (3-year, $11.25 million) and center Jeff Carter (11-year, $58 million) to hefty and lengthy contracts.
With free agency looming, Leino appears to be next Flyer to score big.
Leino, entering his second year in the NHL, was acquired by Philadelphia late-way through the 2009-2010 season from Detroit soon becoming a major asset to Philadelphia’s Stanley Cup Finals run setting the Flyers rookie playoff record for points with 16.
His short tenure with the team has been nothing less than impressive leading the 2010-2011 Flyers with 12 assists and tied for third in total points with 15.
As contract talks have surged recently, so has Leino’s play, scoring points in nine of his last 12 games. In 18 games this season his 15 total points (3-12-15) is just five shy of his career total of 20.
Leino is in the final year of his $800,000 contract and becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 1. If and when the Flyers put together a deal it’s projected to be in the $2 million range.
Even though the Flyers have 18 players under contract in 2011-2012 and are within $1.8 million dollars of next years salary cap, Leino’s play at such a low cost seems to be almost a no-brainer for Philadelphia General Manager Paul Holmgren.
Leino, along with Giroux and Carter have made it clear they want to stay in Philadelphia. Now it’s only a matter of time before Philadelphia makes it clear that the feeling is mutual.