Mikko Lehtonen, the Bruins’ third-round pick in 2005, has signed a one-year deal with Skelleftea of the Swedish Elite League. Lehtonen was a restricted free agent. The Bruins will retain Lehtonen’s NHL rights.
“He felt there was not an opportunity for him in our organization,” GM Peter Chiarelli wrote in an e-mail.
The right wing led Providence last season in scoring with 23 goals and 27 assists. The year before, Lehtonen scored a team-high 28 goals and 25 assists as an AHL rookie. The 23-year-old Lehtonen is considered a skilled winger with good hands and above-average speed. But Lehtonen had not shown the grit and physical bent required of the NHL. Lehtonen had appeared in one NHL game in each of the last two seasons.
The 6-foot-3, 196-pound Lehtonen would have been in competition with Brad Marchand and Jordan Caron for a big-league job in training camp.