Meet Ville Leino
Pakarinen was relatively muted in his praise of the young Swede, but he was keen on another player. Good Finn that he is, Pakarinen wanted to let me know about a countryman named Ville Leino.
"Brunnstrom is not the hottest player around here," he said. "This guy is."
I took at look at his stats, and sure enough, Leino's pretty impressive. The 24-year-old Jokerit sniper won the Finnish league MVP this season with 28 goals and 77 points in 58 games.
I'd meant to write about him ages ago, but got caught up in the NHL playoffs and filed the name away. Let's just say I wasn't surprised when this bit of news made the rounds today:
Wings sign Finnish starGiven Detroit's success with little-known European gems, I'd bet on Pakarinen's guy.
The Red Wings lost out on Swedish prodigy Fabian Brunnstrom on Thursday but may have landed the Finnish equivalent on Saturday, signing 24-year-old, high-scoring winger Ville Leino to a one-year entry-level contract.
"In the playoffs, Leino had 19 points in 14 games in Finland, Brunnstrom (had no goals and one assist) in 12 games," Pakarinen said.
"Sure, the Swedish League may be a little better, but Leino would have dominated the Swedish league as well."
Although he might need a new agent.