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Leivo relishing opportunity to show Canucks he can make a difference

Josh Leivo has identified a knack for scoring significant objectives for the Canucks, in addition the male can participate in.

GLENDALE, Ariz. — On the Jim Benning report card, there are numerous misses. The trade for Josh Leivo last December is certainly not one of them.

The winger, acquired from the Toronto Maple Leafs for small leaguer Michael Carcone, is a accredited A-in addition offer by the Canucks’ basic manager.

Evening in, evening out, Leivo has shown what a total hockey player he is in the Vancouver lineup. There are the apparent things, like the hard shot that nets him objectives this kind of as the one he scored Wednesday in Denver, tying the NHL recreation 2-2 with just about 3 minutes to participate in. The Avalanche received in a shootout.

And then there are the not-so-apparent things, like his work at protecting against opposing pictures.

For Leivo, as cautious a speaker as they occur, it can be tricky to get a feeling of what he really thinks. But you know he loves the recreation, and he certainly loves that he’s been specified an NHL possibility following toiling in the Toronto Maple Leafs’ program for the last five seasons.

But you pry a very little and you can hear a feeling of delight in how hard he’s worked because graduating to professional hockey in 2013-14.

“As a professional I think I’ve discovered a ton in the minors, but I just try out to continue to keep the recreation basic. When the likelihood are there it’s a enjoyable recreation to participate in,” he claimed following Wednesday’s loss at the Pepsi Heart in Colorado.

For his initially 3 professional seasons, he played generally in the AHL for the Toronto Marlies, but obtained cups of NHL espresso every of people a long time.

Then the previous two seasons he was generally trapped in the press box — he suited up 29 situations, but generally was a healthful scratch. Very last year, he was out of action at one level for 55 games, prompting his request for a trade.


Josh Leivo, centre, celebrates with teammates following scoring the tying goal in Denver Wednesday evening. Even though very good plenty of to suit up for the Leafs, coach Mike Babcock couldn’t discover a part for him.

Matthew Stockman /

Getty Images

He was very good plenty of to stick close to, the Leafs’ brass appeared to assume, but coach Mike Babcock couldn’t discover a part for him.

To start out this year, with William Nylander a deal holdout, Leivo last but not least obtained a probability to participate in. But that gig disappeared when Nylander signed.

A trade adopted in December — Leafs GM Kyle Dubas promised him he would go him if there was not a full-time occupation for him in Toronto — and you know the tale because.

Leivo has scored eight situations in 32 games and has put in most of his time in blue and green enjoying on one of the Canucks’ leading two traces.

He’s snug in his new natural environment, he claimed, and it did not choose him prolonged to know that coach Travis Eco-friendly had rely on in him.

“You’re enjoying a total other convention, the game’s a very little unique, still obtained to get applied to the men. I was enjoying on unique traces, mixing it up, but I assume following the initially few games I really started off experience (snug),” Leivo claimed.

“Once Greener started off enjoying me a ton a lot more, I felt a lot more duty and felt that he dependable me a lot more. I assume which is when I obtained a lot more self-confident in my recreation. Not almost everything is going correct now, but I’m experience self-assurance.”

Practically from the get-go, he identified himself on the electric power participate in. He’d had tastes of the electric power participate in when he was with the Leafs, but he’s been a regular fixture on specific groups with the Canucks.

“I’m acquiring possibilities that I did not have in advance of.”

For the Canucks, the research is about getting players who may well assistance win now but who will become critical contributors on a likely contender in a several seasons.

Because joining the Canucks, Leivo has been one of the team’s ideal two-way players. When Leivo’s on the ice, the Canucks are acquiring 54.9 per cent of the pictures.

The Canucks really do not have numerous players who have been in the black by that metric, one which is prolonged been proven to give you a superior probability of successful.

Those people pictures are superb types, much too, with the huge the vast majority coming from the slot.

Defensively, the opposition is also owning a tricky time acquiring good quality pictures off. Definitely this is about how the five defenders on the ice work as a device, not just about Leivo, but there’s no doubt he’s manufactured an affect.

Eco-friendly claimed he’s viewed the self-assurance developing in the winger.

“I assume he’s acquiring a lot more self-confident,” the coach claimed Wednesday. “He has not played in the spots that he’s enjoying in the NHL. I assume we noticed glimmers of it for the initially thirty day period … then I assume he’s gotten a lot more snug staying in people roles.

“I assume his regularity — it’s a thing we’ve talked about with him — I assume he’s on a quite very good operate of putting some consistent games in.”

pjohnston@postmedia.com

twitter.com/risingaction


Subsequent Activity: Sunday

Vancouver Canucks at Vegas Golden Knights

1 p.m., T-Cellular Arena, Television set: Sportsnet Pacific Radio: Sportsnet 650 AM


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