Josh Leivo

Boeser out eight weeks, injury helps explain Toffoli trade
Getty Images

Canucks say Boeser could miss rest of regular season, view Toffoli as replacement


The Canucks provided a troubling Brock Boeser update, and in doing so, explained the steep fee they paid for Tyler Toffoli.

It turns out that the Boeser injury news is worse than thought. GM Jim Benning said that they view it as an eight-week injury. If that holds true, Boeser would miss the rest of the regular season and playoff time if Vancouver makes it.

(The Canucks also ruled out Josh Leivo for at least the rest of the regular season.)

Boeser injury and how it relates to Toffoli trade

Benning explained that, yes, Boeser’s injury partially prompted the Toffoli trade. The Canucks GM believes that Toffoli does a lot of the same things as Boeser.

On one hand, Boeser may seem like a bigger name. Boeser also produced bigger point totals than Toffoli recently.

Despite playing in 69 or fewer games during the previous two seasons, Boeser generated 26 and 29 goals, along with 55 and 56 points. Toffoli’s recent numbers are far more modest, although he managed 31 goals and 58 points in 2015-16.

Those numbers stem from the days of “That ’70s Line.” Fittingly, Benning asked current Canuck Tanner Pearson about Toffoli before the trade.

Could Toffoli catch fire after leaving the Kings much like Ilya Kovalchuk with Montreal? It’s fair to ask when you compare Toffoli to Boeser with certain metrics. Take, for instance, Toffoli’s strong showings in Evolving Hockey’s RAPM charts:

Was Toffoli trade smart by Canucks?

I’ve personally argued that Toffoli was a player worth targeting because he’s better than the simplest stats might imply. If you’re looking purely at replacing Boeser, Benning indeed seems to have a point.

Of course, the other side of the argument is that the Canucks might have been risking things by adding Toffoli to a mix that included Boeser.

After all, to get Toffoli the Canucks gave up a second-round pick, conditional pick, and Tyler Madden (whom The Athletic’s Corey Pronman ranks [sub required] as Pronman’s 40th best prospect). Benning told reporters that, while he spoke to Toffoli’s agent, the team is going to see how he fits before making any sort of extension decision. This seems like a hefty price for a Canucks team with an unclear outlook.

Clearly, Vancouver remains resolute in going for it in 2019-20.

To Benning’s credit, it’s not outrageous to look at the standings (particularly in the Pacific) and conclude that it’s a decent time to roll the dice:

You can get dizzy pondering the range of possibilities, from winning the division to outright missing the playoffs.

By placing Boeser and Leivo on LTIR, the Canucks also hold significant cap space, even after adding Toffoli at his full $4.6M AAV. In other words, the Canucks could throw even more caution to the wind.

(I don’t think they’ll trade for Jeff Carter to fully reunite him with Pearson or Toffoli, though. Aw, shucks.)

MORE: PHT’s 2020 NHL Trade Deadline Tracker

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Leafs recall Booth, Holzer

1 Comment

With several players on the limp, Toronto made a pair of recalls on Monday by bringing up defenseman Korbinian Holzer and forward David Booth from the Marlies.

Holzer, 26, is back in the mix following Roman Polak’s injury on Saturday against Detroit. While it’s not known exactly what’s ailing Polak, Leafs head coach Randy Carlyle said the Czech rearguard would “be out for a while” after getting tangled with Tomas Tatar.

Holzer has 24 games of NHL experience on his resume, but has yet to play for the Leafs this season.

As for Booth, he’ll look to debut this week after missing all of the season with a broken foot suffered during the exhibition campaign. The 30-year-old, who inked a one-year deal this summer after spending the last few years in Vancouver, heads back to Toronto after a successful conditioning stint with the Marlies, in which he scored once in two games.

The Leafs have been thinned-out up front with injuries to Joffrey Lupul and Brandon Kozun, along with the suspension to Carter Ashton.

As for Wednesday’s game against Pittsburgh, the likely candidates to come out for Booth would be either Richard Panik or Josh Leivo, both of whom got less than seven minutes of ice against the Red Wings on Saturday.

Hot Leafs accelerate falling Senators


The Ottawa Senators got off to a 4-1-0 start this season, but they’ve been slipping since then. Sunday night was their latest setback as they suffered a 5-3 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Toronto was outshot 41-30 tonight, but goaltender James Reimer stood tall once again. He’s faced an average of about 35 shots per 60 minutes this season, but has kept the Leafs in contests with his .925 save percentage.

The Maple Leafs also displayed some impressive offensive depth tonight as Peter Holland, Josh Leivo, and Mike Santorelli each found the back of the net.

Ottawa has now won just three of its last nine contests. The Maple Leafs have captured 11 of a possible 14 points over their last seven games.

The Maple Leafs will look to extend their winning streak to three games on Wednesday against Boston (8:00 p.m. ET, NBCSN).

Leafs recall Leivo from AHL

The Toronto Maple Leafs recalled forward Josh Leivo from the American Hockey League’s Toronto Marlies the club announced Friday.

The Leafs are without forwards Joffrey Lupul (hand), Brandon Kozun (ankle) and David Booth (foot), who are on injured reserve.

Carter Ashton was suspended 20 games for violating the league’s substance abuse program on Thursday and Daniel Winnik’s health is in question, following the hit he received in Colorado last night.

Leivo, 21, has appeared in eight games with the Marlies this season scoring a goal and adding three assists. He started the with the Leafs, but due to a foot injury, did not play.

With the addition of Leivo, Toronto now has 22 players on its’ active roster.

The Leafs entertain the New York Rangers on Saturday night.

Leafs’ Franson tests out knee

1 Comment

The Toronto Maple Leafs appeared to have dodged a bullet as far as defenseman Cody Franson is concerned.

The Leafs rear guard went heavily into the end boards during the Leafs 3-2 shootout win over the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday night and missed Toronto’s remaining two preseason games.

The club announced on Monday that Franson had suffered a left knee bruise.

On Saturday afternoon, Franson took to the ice for the first time to test out his knee.

“It’s getting better. There’s definitely some work to do to get it back to game shape, but it’s a step in the right direction,” Franson told reporters. “My goal is to be back for the home opener. I don’t want to miss any time if I don’t have to. The training staff is trying to make it as comfrotabe as possible in order to get back for the home opener.”

Franson admitted there’s still work to do as far as his knee is concerned prior to being cleared for the Leafs’ Oct. 8 season opener against the Montreal Canadiens.

“To get full mobility, you have to get the swelling to go away and there’s still a decent amount of swelling there,” he said.

Franson is also well aware that the hit he received from Torrey Mitchell could’ve had a much worse result.

“(The hit) could’ve gone a lot of different ways and I’m lucky it only came out with what it is,” said Franson. “Those are the plays you don’t like to see, but it happens and I got lucky.”

Franson will benefit from the Leafs not playing until Oct. 8, which gives him plenty of time to get that swelling to subside.

The news isn’t as positive for line mates Tyler Bozak and Phil Kessel.

Kessel left the team’s practice Saturday due to a nagging lower body injury, which also forced him to miss Friday night’s preseason game against the Red Wings. Kessel’s injury is something that has been bothering him for over a week now as he’s been receiving treatment post-practice since at least last Friday (Sept. 26).

Bozak (lower body) didn’t skate at all Saturday, but reportedly went through an off-ice workout.

Forward Josh Leivo, who could be in line for an opening day roster for spot missed Saturday’s practice as well. He’s likely suffering a lower body injury after blocking a shot from Red Wings defenseman Brendan Smith during Friday’s win.