BOSTON – Mike Babcock said Saturday he was unaware of the reported trade request made by Toronto Maple Leafs depth winger Josh Leivo ahead of the NHL’s Feb. 26 trade deadline.
According to Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos, Leivo requested to Lamoriello that he either be inserted into the lineup or traded this month.
Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported that winger Nikita Soshnikov, currently playing for the Toronto Marlies on a conditioning stint, may be showcased for a trade as well.
Following the Leafs’ 4-1 loss to the Bruins in Boston, the Toronto head coach referred reporters to general manager Lou Lamoriello on the matter.
“I couldn’t tell ya. Neither guy has asked me for that, but you can talk to Lou about that if you want,” Babcock said.
“In fairness to Nikita, he hasn’t been healthy one time this year. We couldn’t even play him if we wanted to.
“As far as Leivs goes, he hasn’t got a lot of opportunity to play, but I’d talk to Lou if I was you about that. I know nothing.”
Leivo signed a one-year, $925,000 extension in mid-November.
“He’s a player that we like,” Babcock said at that time. “So if you like a guy, why wouldn’t you [re-sign him]?”
Since signing his deal, Leivo has played in just seven contests, registering one goal and one assist while seeing limited ice time.
His most recent appearance was Dec. 31, when he skated 9:06 in a loss to Vegas. He has been healthy-scratched 14 consecutive times.
Marlies call-up Kasperi Kapanen has since surpassed Leivo on the depth chart.
Babcock and Lamoriello are in frequent conversation regarding personnel adjustments, and the Leafs’ roster currently is at the 50-player maximum.
Earlier this week, the coach stated publicly that he wants his team to play well enough in the next few weeks that Lamoriello is compelled to strengthen the lineup via trade.
A depth centre and a right-shot defenceman are believed to be on the Leafs’ wish list.