When Kari Leivo learned of his son’s one-year, $925,000 contract extension Friday afternoon through the media, he called Josh right away. “He was screaming. Same thing as when I got drafted,” said Josh Leivo Saturday morning at Bell Centre. “All smile—ear to ear.” Leivo looked a lot like the way he describes his dad — happy, relieved, excited — following another one of his prolonged morning game-day skates, the routine of the healthy scratch. Keep positive. Put in the work. Patiently wait for your chance, then seize with verve when it finally arrives. Josh Leivo’s wallet is thickening at a time when his HockeyDB page is thinning. He squeezed into a mere 13 games for the Leafs (and five for the AHL Marlies) in 2016-17, but posted an impressive 10 points. Enough to earn him expansion-draft protection from GM Lou Lamoriello and sporadic “Free Leivo!” protests from Leafs Nation diehards. This season the extra winger’s mission of cracking the dang lineup only got tougher with the summer addition of future Hall of Famer Patrick Marleau and the contractual call-up of Nikita Soshnikov. Even with minor injuries to forwards Matt Martin, James van Riemsdyk and Auston Matthews, Leivo has just five games played, notching one assist. Coach Mike Babcock played him a two-season ice-time low of 9:35 in his most recent appearance, Saturday’s 4-1 win in Boston.
Why Josh Leivo re-signed with the Maple Leafs
Sportsnet | Nov 18