Lehtera isn't likely to have his contract bought out by the Flyers, despite how the center yielded a disappointing eight points over 62 games this season, NBC Sports Philadelphia reports. The Finn has one year remaining on his contract with a hefty cap hit of $4.7 million, but Flyers GM Ron Hextall has made it clear that he doesn't intend to write off Lehtera, who also skated to a minus-8 rating this year. "There's a lot of reasons you don't just buy a guy out because he makes a little bit more than that type of role should make," Hextall said. "Jori was a good role player for us. He's a terrific human being. He works hard. He's really good with our young kids. There's a lot more to it than just saying 'Okay, Jori Lehtera was playing center and playing 8-10 minutes." While the continuity of sticking in Philadelphia's system figures to be a positive, Lehtera would need the promise of more ice time to justify taking him even in the late rounds of fantasy drafts.
Lehtera pitched in eight points (three goals, seven assists) in 62 games in 2017-18, while averaging 10:32 of ice time. Throughout the season Lehtera largely appeared on the fourth line, and was used mainly in defensive situations as he was able to win 57 percent of his faceoffs. The 30-year-old's seen his point production drop each of his four seasons in the NHL after putting up 44 his rookie year, but he did just fire off 45 shots on the season, and was never given a role on the power play. Lehtera will come back to Philadelphia for his final season on his contract, but could be pushed by Mike Vecchione for playing time.
Lehtera was a healthy scratch for the second consecutive game during Sunday's 6-3 win over Washington. The Finn had been playing regularly, but with just three goals and two assists through his previous 36 games, it's not surprising to see him sitting out with a playoff berth at stake. Lehtera may draw back into the lineup over the coming weeks, but fantasy owners should probably aim higher in most settings. After all, among all forwards with at least 500 minutes this season, Lehtera's 0.76 points per hour rank seventh last.
Lehtera (illness) is in the projected lineup for Thursday's game against the Blue Jackets. Lehtera missed Wednesday's practice due to an illness, but he's evidently feeling better ahead of Philadelphia's clash with Columbus. The 30-year-old pivot, who's only notched one goal and five points in 42 contests this campaign, will slot into a bottom-six role against the Blue Jackets, skating with Valtteri Filppula and Dale Weise on the Flyers' fourth line.
Lehtera missed Wednesday's practice due to an illness, Sam Carchidi of The Philadelphia Inquirer reports. The former St. Louis Blue has found life difficult in his first season with the Flyers, scoring just one goal and five points through 42 games while mostly filling a fourth-line role. Philadelphia should provide a further update on Lehtera's status for Thursday's game against Columbus at some point after the day's morning skate, though it will have a limited impact on lineup decisions for fantasy owners.
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