Two of the top Finnish free agents out there, Ville Leino and Antti Niemi, have received offers from NHL teams and are both weighing offers.
Ville Leino is a 24 year old forward playing for Jokerit in the Finnish SM-Liiga. He led his team in scoring with 28 goals and 77 points in 55 games. In a recent interview, he revealed that several NHL teams have expressed an interest in him, and his agent said it's likely he will sign sometime this summer. He doesn't want to play in the AHL is focusing on the upcoming World Championships in Canada. Brochu's take: There's been talk that the Vancouver Canucks, Edmonton Oilers and Toronto Maple Leafs are interested in the forward. He could be a relatively cheap option for teams looking for offensive depth. Expect the major media outlets to pick up this story in 3 months time. Source
Antti Niemi is a 24 year old goaltender playing for Pelicans Lahti in the Finnish SM-Liiga. It's rumoured that 10 NHL teams are interested in the young goalie, and he has recently traveled to Chicago to meet his agent and NHL executives about signing with a team. Brochu's take: The Leafs are rumored to be one of the teams, along with the Tampa Bay Lightning and St. Louis Blues. Source
There are also rumors from Finnish sources that Janne Niinimaa may try to make a return to the NHL for the 2008-2009 season. Niinimaa is playing for Davos of the Swiss Nationalliga A.
The Carolina Hurricanes have re-signed forward Sergei Samsonov to a three-year, $7.6 million contract extension. Samsonov will receive $2.3 million in 2008-09, $2.5 million in 2009-10 and $2.8 million in 2010-11. Brochu's take: The question is, which Samsonov will show up next year? Will it be the same one who played horribly in Montreal and Chicago, or the one that played a good half season with Carolina? Only time will tell. Source
The Canes also signed forwards Stefan Chaput and Nick Dodge to entry-level contracts. Source