It wasn’t too long ago the 2017 NHL season had begun, and as November came, Josh Leivo was back to his spot in the press box. A career tweener, too good for the AHL, but not quite good enough to crack a permanent spot in the Leafs lineup. It was obvious to me this would be it for him. There is no way he signs a new deal with the Leafs after Babcock almost refuses to play him. But then out of nowhere he signs a new 1 year contract with the Leafs, and continued to sit in the press box for most of the remaining season. It was baffling to me then and still is now. Regardless, my thought was with JVR and Bozak leaving, this was his shot to finally get some ice time and win Babcock over.
Not so fast. Dubas has recently signed Ennis, Jooris and Lindholm. All 3 players will be battling out for spots on the 4th line with presumably one of Brown, Kapanen and Johnsson. I just don’t see any possible way Leivo can get any valuable playing time here, once again.
Leivo isn’t a bad player at all. He has his warts – pretty weak skater, and a bit of tunnel vision for the net. However, he’s got an above average NHL shot, and plays a heavy game which the Leafs do lack. He just doesn’t possess the type of skills that are required for Babcock’s system of stretch passes and quick zone entries. It seems pretty telling to me that Dubas went out and got Ennis when he knew Leivo was waiting for his spot. For this reason I hope Leivo gets traded. He’s better than so many other 4th liners in the league, and he will prove it when he gets his chance. Just not in Toronto.
Something’s gotta give here. If a forward doesn’t get traded I will be shocked.