Philadelphia Flyers‘ center Jori Lehtera was sentenced in Finland for four months of conditional imprisonment for purchase and possession of cocaine. He is in the last year of a three-year deal carrying a $4.7 million AAV, according to CapFriendly.
Jori Lehterä sentenced for possession and purchase of 6 grams of cocaine, and attempt to purchase 1 gram: 4 months, no jail time. #Flyers https://t.co/W4ARSpUV11
— Janne van Riemsdyk (@LOLJTX) March 27, 2019
Jori Lehtera Sentenced for Cocaine Possession
Lehtera’s NHL career has spanned five years (2014-now), three with the St. Louis Blues and two with the Flyers. He has amassed 34 goals and 77 assists over his career for 111 points in 307 career games. The Blues originally drafted him in 2008, but did not début for them until 2014 after spending 4 seasons in the KHL.
This season has seen Lehtera put up three points in 27 NHL games and three points in five games with Lehigh Valley of the AHL. His contract is buried in the minors after the controversy surrounding his situation and poor performance. Additionally, his possession numbers are poor with a 46.1 Corsi For % and a -3.4 relative Corsi.
He had a stellar rookie season in 2014-15 and provided a great depth option for the Blues. The Finnish forward totaled 14 goals and 30 assists for 44 points in 75 games. That made for a decent campaign for a first-year player in the league. However, he hasn’t cracked double digits in goals since then.
How this impacts the Flyers
Lehtera has played in less than a third of their games this season and has poor offensive and possessive stats. His departure from the team for the rest of this season will have very little impact on their playoff push. Consequently, it is also the last year of Lehtera’s bulky contract. It’s hard to imagine any NHL team re-signing him after his sentencing, let alone the Flyers.
The Flyers have many other internal options available to fill his role, as players like Phil Varone and Mikhail Vorobyov will stopgap the fourth-line center position that Lehtera is vacating. Varone has already spent time in that place as of late. He’s already fared better offensively than Lehtera with seven points in 43 games this year. Lehtera’s absence won’t be a point of worry for this Flyers squad.
OTTAWA, ON – FEBRUARY 24: Philadelphia Flyers Winger Jori Lehtera (15) prepares for a face-off during second period National Hockey League action between the Philadelphia Flyers and Ottawa Senators on February 24, 2018, at Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa, ON, Canada. (Photo by Richard A. Whittaker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)