It is now official: Jori Lehtera won’t be back with the Phildalphia Flyers next season.
The pending free agent has decided to take his talents to Russia, as it has been reported overseas that he has signed the SKA Saint Petersburg in the KHL.
Last season, Lehtera was caught up in a cocaine ring investigation in his native Finland. As you remember, Lehtera was officially charged by Finnish authorities in connection with a major drug bust in that country. Lehtera stands accused of purchasing drugs from a large distribution ring in Finland, a distribution ring that was the target of a sting by Finnish authorities and one that Lehtera was caught up in at the time.
Lehtera reportedly purchased a whopping 8 grams cocaine during the months of June and July while in nightclubs in the Finnish town of Tampere. This not only speaks to the obvious criminal behavior on the part of Lehtera but would also appear to suggest that he may have a considerable drug habit that he is dealing with.
For what it's worth Lehtera has denied ever buying drugs from any of the 21 other people charged in this case but he has however admitted to knowing at least two of them.
In March, he was sentenced to four months of probation for possessing cocaine, but was not found guilty of selling or trafficking it. He went on waivers in February, cleared, and played five games for the Phantoms in the American Hockey League.
Over two season in Philadelphia, where he landed as part of the Brayden Schenn/St. Louis/draft picks trade, he posted 11 points in 89 games for the Flyers.
A new chapter in his life might be what is best for Lehtera.