Jori Lehtera

Report: Former Flyers forward Jori Lehtera heads to KHL

Report: Former Flyers forward Jori Lehtera heads to KHL

Jori Lehtera is not returning to the Flyers or staying in the NHL.

Anybody surprised? No? OK.

Lehtera is joining SKA Saint Petersburg of the KHL, according to a report Wednesday by RIA Novosti, a Russian news outlet.

Back in March, the 31-year-old forward was reportedly sentenced to four months of conditional imprisonment (probation) in his native Finland for obtaining and possessing cocaine, a case that stemmed back to September 2018.

Lehtera played 27 games for the Flyers this season, last suiting up on Jan. 19. He scored 11 points (four goals, seven assists) and was a minus-15 in 89 career games with the Flyers.

Lehtera was acquired in June 2017 as part of the trade that sent Brayden Schenn to the Blues. The Flyers also received a pair of draft picks in the deal, which were used to select prospects Morgan Frost (2017 — 27th overall) and Joel Farabee (2018 — 14th overall).

Corban Knight, another role forward from this season, signed a KHL deal last week.

Here's a current look at the Flyers' unrestricted free agents and restricted free agents this offseason:

Brian Elliott, G — UFA
Michal Neuvirth, G — UFA
Cam Talbot, G — UFA
Phil Varone, F — UFA
Scott Laughton, F — RFA
Travis Konecny, F — RFA
Ryan Hartman, F — RFA
Justin Bailey, F — RFA
Ivan Provorov, D — RFA
Travis Sanheim, D — RFA

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Report: Jori Lehtera sentenced to 4 months of conditional imprisonment for possession of cocaine

usa_jori_lehtera_flyers.jpg
USA Today Images/Aaron Doster

Report: Jori Lehtera sentenced to 4 months of conditional imprisonment for possession of cocaine

VOORHEES, N.J. — Jori Lehtera, a forward in the Flyers' organization, has been sentenced to four months of conditional imprisonment (probation) in his native Finland for obtaining and possessing cocaine, according to a report Wednesday by a Finnish newspaper Iltalehti.

Per the report, Lehtera acquired six grams of cocaine but did not import or sell the drug.

The case stems back to September 2018 when Lehtera was considered one of 23 suspects in a large cocaine ring. He twice claimed his innocence in September and December.

The Flyers placed Lehtera on waivers in early February. He went unclaimed and has played just five games for AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley, with the last coming on March 1.

Lehtera is set to become an unrestricted free agent in the offseason and will obviously not be re-signed by the Flyers. The 31-year-old was acquired in June 2017 as part of the trade that sent Brayden Schenn to the Blues. The Flyers also received a pair of draft picks in the deal, which were used to select prospects Morgan Frost (2017 — 27th overall) and Joel Farabee (2018 — 14th overall).

Lehtera is being paid $5 million (he has $4.7 million cap hit) this season, the final year of his three-year contract originally signed with the Blues.

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Flyers place Jori Lehtera on waivers

Flyers place Jori Lehtera on waivers

Updated: 1:38 p.m.

VOORHEES, N.J. — Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher continues to trim some of the dead weight off the Flyers roster, and he cut ties from one of the team's more controversial players.

Wednesday, the Flyers placed forward Jori Lehtera on waivers. However, it’s unlikely that another team will pick up Lehtera and his $4.7 million cap hit. Even if Lehtera clears waivers, it’s very likely that the 31-year-old forward has played his final game with the Flyers.

It’s a move that seemed long overdue as Lehtera had been a healthy scratch since his last game on Jan. 17. Lehtera has also been dealing with off-ice issues as he faces charges of obtaining and possessing cocaine in his native Finland.

Lehtera has maintained his innocence throughout the investigation.

If Lehtera clears, as expected, he’ll likely be assigned to the Phantoms' roster. With the Flyers currently at 23 on the active roster, erasing Lehtera from the equation would also open up a roster spot for either forward Corban Knight or goaltender Brian Elliott, whenever they’re activated from injured reserve.

Lehtera had scored just one goal in 27 games this season, and just four goals in 89 games over the past two seasons playing on the fourth line. 

With the Blues looking for cap relief, former Flyers general manager Ron Hextall acquired Lehtera as part of the Brayden Schenn deal at the 2017 NHL draft, receiving an extra first-round pick as compensation. That pick may prove to be worth the headache of Lehtera and his contract as the Flyers selected Joel Farabee 14th overall this past June. The Flyers also received the 27th overall pick of the 2017 draft and selected Morgan Frost.

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