Though some Buffalo Sabres fans may be disappointed, the team made a smart move in signing forward Ville Leino.
Many Sabres fans thought that the team would make a run at free agent forward Brad Richards. Even though Richards was the biggest name entering Friday afternoon signing Leino was the better move for one reason alone.
That reason would be age as Richards turned 31 this past May. Leino on the other hand will only be 28 come October. That is a big difference in long term performance right there.
Richards contract length will be somewhere between seven to 10 years. At age 31 you may three or four prime years out of Richards before his performance severely drops off.
Leino on the other hand is just entering his prime. That means his entire contract with the Sabres will be in his prime years.
Leino’s contract was six years $27 million and that averages out to about $4.5 million a year. So, if Leino scores 25 goals a season with 50 assists for 75 points the deal will be a steal.
In the end, it goes to show that signing the big name isn’t always the best move.