By the title I know most Sabres fans will think I'm crazy but let's look at Leino for a second. I'll admit when I heard that Buffalo had signed him I was excited and thinking he might do good in Buffalo, then I heard the price. A 6-year deal for $27,000,000 with 4.5M cap hit. That's the definition of overpaid, he had one good season putting up 19G 34A 54 PTS +14 but to me did not deserve that money but whats life without risks.
When I first saw him play for Buffalo I was happy, the way he could hold onto puck was magic, he was great in the corners, and had great hands letting him deke his way through players with ease. Then as the season went on I would grow tired of him and his effortless game , every time he had a golden chance to shoot he would instead make a stupid pass that makes you watch highlights over and over again to understand why he decided to do that. Then if he had a great chance to pass he would shoot and most of the time directly at the goalie, just awful decision making. Also his defensive side wasn't good as he finished the season as a -2 but a lot of players finished as a minus player so I wont bash him for that.
Even though he had these problems I can understand them, to a degree, because he played with 3rd and 4th liners for most of the season.When he played with Pominville and Roy he was playing way better. If I was Lindy Ruff I would put him on a line with Grigorenko as center and either Ott or Pominville playing RW, I know Ott is more of a LW but everyone says he can play in different roles so why not try it. That line has the skill of Leino and Grigorenko, and the toughness of Steve Ott. Also Grigorenko is a big body and I'm sure he can throw some big hits and with his passing ability finding Leino wont be a problem, or even roofing one himself while Ott clears the way with his 110% give it all effort.
I think if Leino has good line mates I see him scoring 15-20 goals with 40-50 points total. I don't see Leino ever putting up 60+ points he just doesn't play with much energy or heart.
My Line Predictions for next season:
Vanek Hodgson Pominville
Foligno Ennis Stafford
Leino Grigorenko Ott
*Gerbe Mccormick Kaleta
I don't see John Scott playing much, maybe 30-40 games
Girgensons, Tropp, Adam fighting for a spot
Weber, McNabb, Pardy, TJ Brennan fighting for a spot.
Maybe even seeing some 6'5 Connor Knapp play if there are any injuries, hopefully no injuries though.
*But I'd like to see Gerbe play with more talented line mates I think he's being held back by playing on the checking/grinding line.
What do you guys think?