Under the new Collective Bargaining Agreement reached in January of 2013, each team is allowed two compliance buyouts to be used after the 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons that will all them to buy out the remainder of a player's contract and not have it count towards the salary cap.
The Sabres plan to buy out the remaining three years of a six-year, $27 million contract they signed Leino to in July of 2011, which carries an annual salary cap hit of $4.5 million.
Prior to signing his contract with the Sabres, Leino set career highs with 19 goals and 34 assists for 53 points with the Philadelphia Flyers during the 2010-2011 season. He also had 22 penalty minutes and was rated a plus-14 that season.
Prior to that, Leino had seven goals and 14 assists for 21 points in 19 playoff games with Flyers during the 2010 playoffs en route to the Stanley Cup Final, where they lost to the Chicago Blackhawks in six games.
Since joining the Sabres in 2011, Leino has played 137 games with the team, scoring only 10 goals and adding 36 assists for 46 points, while also recording 32 penalty minutes and a minus-18 rating. In 58 games this past season, Leino was held without a goal and registered only 15 assists, while accruing 10 penalty minutes and a minus-16 rating.
Ville Leino’s agent Markus Lehto spoke regarding the buyout, adding Leino was not surprised by news.
"Free agency starts first of July, and we'll go from there," said Lehto. "His priority is to play in the NHL. He knows he's a very good NHL player. Obviously, the past two seasons have been just average, I would say, but I'm not going to go and try and analyze what happened. I mean, we'll just look forward."
Whether Leino finds another home in the NHL for next season or heads over to Europe to continue his professional career remains to be seen.