Florida Panthers: Formulating a trade for Josh Leivo

TORONTO, ON - FEBRUARY 25: Josh Leivo /

Once a highly regarded prospect, the Toronto Maple Leafs have reportedly made Josh Leivo available via trade, per Leivo’s request. With the trade deadline rapidly approaching (Feb 26th), should the surging Florida Panthers attempt to propose an enticing deal to acquire Leivo?

According to Sportsnet (specifically Nick Kypreos), Josh Leivo has surprisingly requested for a trade, mainly because he hasn’t received adequate playing time in Toronto. The Leafs have consistently scratched Leivo throughout the 2017-18 campaign, noticeably displeasing the 24-year-old Canadian born forward.

The former 86th overall draft selection has underwhelmingly registered a disappointing slash line of 1G, 2A, and 3pts, while participating in 12 contests, and averaging approximately 10:54 minutes a night.

Following an impressive 2016-17 campaign, Leivo certainly expected for a more significant role; however, Mike Babcock hasn’t been nearly satisfied with Leivo’s current production in limited minutes, thus leading to a reduced role for the angered Leaf.

The Leafs have evidently opted to reward their aging, yet productive veterans with minutes, thus causing Leivo to become disgruntled and displeased. Essentially, Josh’s frustration with the organization has increasingly strengthened, hence resulting in Leivo’s burning desire to become traded.

While Leivo has largely underperformed this season, he has previously conveyed signs of obtaining sustained success, most notably during the 2016-17 season where he tallied 10 points (2G and 8A) in 13 games played. Although, with Toronto’s continuous success offensively, it’s highly unlikely that Leivo will receive any ice-time whatsoever.

Toronto has been frequently rumored to be searching the market for a quality, NHL-caliber defenseman. With Florida’s consistent struggles within their bottom six, potentially acquiring the disoriented, yet promising Leivo seems ideal. Ultimately, Dale Tallon could possibly propose a compelling deal, involving Alex Petrovic, Jamie McGinn or Radim Vrbata, and/or a lower round pick departing Toronto’s way in exchange for Josh Leivo’s services.

More from Editorials

From the Toronto Maple Leafs’ perspective, they’d receive a promising, high-upside bottom-pair defenseman; who’d instantly provide physical toughness, grittiness, occasional offensive play-making ability, and stability to Toronto’s 3rd pairing defensive core.

Additionally, receiving either Radim Vrbata or Jamie McGinn (who the Panthers would likely have to retain some salary on) could possibly spark resurgence into either player’s offensive game, and contribute positively towards Toronto’s bottom six forward group. The alternative option would be to offer a lower round pick, if the Leafs decided that Vrbata or McGinn weren’t of interest to them.

But, for their sake, adding an additional veteran presence, especially with Toronto aiming to guarantee themselves of a higher seed in the Atlantic division, would seem ideal, especially with Leafs’ fans desperately pleading for trades. Furthermore, Toronto would instantly replace Leivo, who currently provides zero impact on Toronto’s daily lineup, with one of Vrbata or McGinn, which would likely be an upgrade for them at third or fourth line.

From the Florida Panthers’ perspective, Josh Leivo could potentially rediscover his dynamic form if presented with more playing time, more responsibilities and a more significant role. Ideally, Leivo contains an incredibly inexpensive, yet cost-efficient deal, holding $612,500 for this season, rising to $925,000 next season (2018-19).

Moreover, the highly touted Canadian possesses solid shooting and skating ability, resulting in highly successful OHL and AHL (named a 2016 all-star) stints, proving he’s currently prepared for the NHL level to maximize his potential.

Furthermore, in combining Josh’s two most productive NHL seasons, while playing a minimal role, he’s registered 7G, 8A, and 15pts, while participating in 25 contests (0.60 PPG). Leivo would most likely receive 3rd line minutes, playing alongside youngsters like Jared McCann. Ultimately, a skilled, yet younger line mate could potentially revitalize the Cats’ third line, sparking some more production up front.

Next: How Harri Sateri has fixed one of the Cats’ glaring problems

Overall, if Toronto complies with Leivo’s trade request, formulating a mutually beneficial deal with the Florida Panthers would appear advisable, truthfully speaking.