Ville Succeed or Be a Bust?

I know…it’s a terrible title.  But anyway, in the latest segment of PuckDaddy Wing-bashing…


Who has been the biggest rookie bust?

This conversation begins, and perhaps ends, with Ville Leino of the Detroit Red Wings.

The 5 points in 24 games and the minus-6 don’t begin to tell the story of how the 25-year-old Finnish rookie has torpedoed the Wings this season. He’s been shuffled around the lineup, earning time with everyone from Henrik Zetterberg to Todd Bertuzzi to Kirk Maltby.

Once thought of as a quintessential replacement for players that left during the summer, Leino’s still looking for the right fit nearly two months into the season.

The good news, potentially: Zetterberg likes the way Leino’s playing. The bad news, in reality: That doesn’t change the fact that Leino has 1 goal in his last 20 games.

I hate to say it, but it’s hard to argue with Greg on this one.  We all thought (myself included) that we could swap out Hudler for Leino and no one would really notice.  We were wrong.  But why has this season been such a bust (so far) for Ville?  Last year he had almost twice as many points in almost half as many games.  From 9 points in 13 games, to 5 points in 24 games…something isn’t right. 

Maybe he was put in at the right time last year.  Maybe Leino misses Filppula too much.  Maybe Leino wasn’t ready for the NHL this year.  He did only spend one year in the AHL last year while playing a few with the big club.  Would another year in Grand Rapids really have helped?  No one was going to argue with Dr. eVille getting the permanent call-up for this regular season.  He was nearly a 0.70 point-per-game player last season and even shipped in a couple of helpers in seven games of the play-offs.  We promised him one year in the minors and not a day more.  We kept our end of the bargain.

Ville needs to start proving that he deserves a spot.  His center (granted, not his center for the whole season-to-date) has over five times as many points as he does.  That’s just wrong.

Fix it, Ville.  We still have hope.