February 7, 2018 | 10:59am ET
LEIVO WANTS TO “DO THAT HOCKEY”
Josh Leivo, forward
Toronto Maple Leafs winger Josh Leivo has played a mere 12 games this season; not exactly ideal for a guy who could be a top-nine forward on an array of teams.
Leivo told TSN’s Maple Leafs reporter Kristen Shilton on Monday after morning skate he either wants to see some ice time with the Leafs or he wants to get traded somewhere where he can play.
“I do want to play for the Leafs, that’s why I signed for another year,” he said. “I still want to get in the lineup (but the past) two years, with 20 (NHL) games, it’s not enough. Hopefully I can get in and help them win.
“I’ve enjoyed the journey, we’ve had good years and tough years. It’s been a great experience, I want to continue it here. We’ve had a good relationship, hopefully this works out right.”
Leivo hasn’t played in a game since New Year’s Eve. The problem: the Leafs simply have too much depth up front. His skill set is that of a top-nine guy, but in a club so saturated with forward depth, he cannot be put in a position to showcase his talent.
Drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the third-round, 86th overall, in 2011, Leivo hasn’t seen a whole lot of NHL ice since his debut in 2013. With only 53 NHL games under his belt, he could certainly be utilized on another club, but wants to the crack the Leafs lineup.
An Ontario native, Leivo has made it abundantly clear that he wants to stay in Toronto, and his teammates want to see him stay. Approaching 25 years of age, it’s about time he gets that opportunity or seeks it elsewhere. He signed a one-year extension with the Leafs in November, which makes his request for a trade a bit curious, because why not just wait it out? Well, he was put on the Leafs’ protected list for the expansion draft, giving the impression that he had a future playing with Toronto, but that has not been the narrative. The guy just wants to play, and can you blame him? As they say in hockey, “let’s do that hockey.”
Even as a great 5-on-5 player, who can be on the powerplay, it is clear there is simply no spot for him on the Leafs roster. At least this season. If Leivo is put in a position to succeed, many have no doubt he will. He has stated he doesn’t want to be in the AHL. He believes he is an NHL player, and he is; so where could some possible destinations be if he is dealt?
We know that there are a great deal of hockey clubs looking for a scoring winger to fill a second- or third-line role. Toronto’s surplus of talented forwards may be pieced together to add that right-handed defensemen they’ve been seeking for quite sometime now.
Perhaps there’s interest from Detroit, who has Mike Green at the top of their trade bait list. Adding Green would certainly be a huge boost to Toronto’s blueline, but the right deal has to present itself.
Leivo was recently added to TFP’s Top 30 Available Players List.