One word that could describe the season that Ville Leino had for the Buffalo Sabres is disappointing. Abysmal, awful and torturous are other descriptive words that could be used to describe Leino's lack of productivity.
Leino finished the 2011-2012 campaign with 8 goals and 17 assists in 71 games, earning just one powerplay goal. Not quite the numbers the Sabres expected when they signed him to a lucrative contract in the offseason. Leino's 25 points in 2011-2012 isn't even half of what he racked up in his prior season in Philadelphia, when he ended up with 53 points, not to mention an important overtime goal in game 6 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against Buffalo.
The thought to make Leino a center was also a busted move and head coach Lindy Ruff had to continue to make line adjustments to try to get Leino going. He spent time on every line for Buffalo, but was unable to produce as Buffalo had hoped. Although, it shouldn't be a surprise. With the exception of Leino's last year in Philadelphia in 2010-2011, he never put up great numbers. He never scored more than five goals before that season and he has yet to play a full 82 game schedule, although he did play 81 in 2010-2011. That being said, it's safe to say that Buffalo reached when they signed Leino after realizing they were out of the race to sign then coveted free agent center Brad Richards.
While Leino had a lackluster debut with Buffalo, there are hopes that he can redeem himself in the upcoming season. Leino had his best year when on a line with former Sabre Danny Briere. Buffalo doesn't have that premiere goal scorer on the roster just yet, but could bring one in during the offseason by signing, say Zach Parise? Of course only time will tell what moves Buffalo will make in the offseason, but one has to believe that an offensive upgrade is in the works and hopefully for Buffalo, the move or moves can help spark Leino to the player Buffalo thought they had when they signed him.
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