29-Year-Old Defenseman – Free Agent
Sami Lepisto Contract Information:
Lepisto signed a one-year deal with the Blackhawks in July of 2011.
Lepisto (leg) will play against Detroit on Saturday, Chicago Sun-Times writer Adam Jahns reports.
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RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
There was no outlook written for Sami Lepisto.
The Blackhawks opted to sign Lepisto instead of Chris Campoli for the 2011-12 season. Lepisto had a combined four goals and 12 assists last season splitting time between the Coyotes and the Blue Jackets. He is probably a fourth line defenseman at best for the Blackhawks.
Lepisto might have been the nicest surprise on defense in 2009-2010 for the Coyotes. A stable blue-liner, he posted 11 points (1G 10A) with a plus-11 rating. He earned his spot as a sixth defenseman. There will be heavy competition for that spot for 2010-11, and if Lepisto makes it back to the NHL team, expect him to produce at the same rate as last season.
Lepisto comes over from Washington after a trade this summer. The Finnish defender figures to get a much better shot in the desert for a Coyotes team that was outright awful defensively last year. Lepisto was an assist machine for Hershey of the AHL last year, notching 38 helpers in 70 games for the Bears. If Lepisto can seize the opportunity he has in Phoenix, he could very well be an anchor on the power play, be a key piece to repairing Phoneix's blue line, and also be a supreme sleeper in fantasy leagues.
Lepisto played mainly in AHL Hershey last year, posting 45 points in 55 games, and was called up for a seven game stint with the Caps, in which he registered his first career assist. As a defenseman, his strengths lie in his offensive game; his puck skills are great and he has an excellent left-handed one timer. He is a very confident player with the puck, but for a defender that can lead to turnovers that in turn leads to shots for the opposition. He will continue to play at AHL Hershey this coming year and it should help make him a more solid defender in the long run. Do not expect to see him in a Caps' uniform starting the season, unless injuries or poor play plague the Capsí defensive unit. He may be on the shuttle between the NHL and AHL during this coming year, but he does not possess much fantasy value.