Red Wings re-sign forward Leino

Updated: July 6, 2009, 8:10 PM ET
Associated Press

DETROIT -- The Detroit Red Wings brought back a restricted free agent and hope to welcome back another one soon.

Ville Leino signed a two-year, $1.6 million contract Monday as Red Wings general manager Ken Holland attempted to re-sign Jiri Hudler, who is also a 25-year-old forward.

Ville Leino

Leino

Detroit lost free agent forwards Marian Hossa and Tomas Kopecky to the Chicago Blackhawks last week, and forward Mikael Samuelsson left for Vancouver in free agency.

Hudler filed for salary arbitration, but Holland has avoided it since taking over the front office in 1997.

"Under my watch, we haven't needed salary arbitration to get a deal done," Holland said. "We talked today, we'll talk [Tuesday] and the hope is we'll find common ground with Jiri."

A phone message was left with Hudler and a text message was sent to him Monday night.

The Red Wings, who were a win away against Pittsburgh from repeating as Stanley Cup champions, will need players such as Hudler and Leino to play key roles next season to make up for the losses of Hossa, Samuelsson and Kopecky.

Detroit also might need Darren Helm and Justin Abdelkader to produce instead of developing slowly as prospects.

Hudler seems to be ready for a larger role.

He ranked fifth on the team with 23 goals last season, and the Czech forward had a career-high 57 points in his third full season in the NHL. In the past two postseasons, he has contributed 26 points.

Leino, who is from Finland, spent most of last season playing with Grand Rapids of the AHL. He had 15 goals and 31 assists in 57 games in the regular season and three goals in 10 playoff games with the Griffins.

In limited chances, he played well for the Red Wings and scored five goals in 13 games during the regular season.

"It doesn't matter who we play with Leino, he scores," coach Mike Babcock said after a game in February.


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press