In May, a disappointed Jori Lehtera left Scottrade Center the day the Blues cleaned out their lockers and vowed to be back in St. Louis earlier than usual to prepare for the 2017-18 season. True to his word, Lehtera was at the IceZone in Hazelwood this week, participating in the informal practices taking place at the team facility a month ahead of training camp. But Lehtera was doing so in the black and orange uniform of the Philadelphia Flyers, the club he will report to in September following the Blues’ surprising swap for Brayden Schenn at the NHL draft. “It’s not really (weird) being here,” said Lehtera, whose wife, Lotta, is soon expected to deliver the couple’s first child. “It’s really nice of the Blues to let me work out and skate here.” It’s the second big favor Lehtera believes the Blues have done for him this summer, the first being the change of scenery following a three-year stay here that began in sync with Vladimir Tarasenko and closed with him sinking to a paltry 22 points in the regular season and sitting out as a healthy scratch at times in the postseason. “I have no idea why (the Blues traded me), but I think it’s better for me that I got traded, so I don’t really care why,” said Lehtera, who has two years remaining on a three-year, $14.1 million contract ($4.7 million annual average value). “That’s the business part of hockey. It’s always tough to leave when you know all of the guys and the city. But hockey-wise, it’s going to be good for me. I didn’t play well at the end, but I think a new start will be really good for me.” On the first night of the draft, Lehtera was home in Finland, which is eight hours ahead of St. Louis time, so he was sound asleep when the deal that also sent the 27th pick and a conditional first-round selection in 2018 to Philadelphia was announced. He learned of it when Lotta woke up at 7 a.m. and saw the news on her phone.
Ex-Blue Lehtera eager to prove himself
St. Louis Post-Dispatch | Aug 18