Toronto Maple Leafs players that need to step up with Matthews injured

TORONTO, ON - FEBRUARY 10: Auston Matthews
TORONTO, ON - FEBRUARY 10: Auston Matthews /
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TORONTO, ON – FEBRUARY 9: Josh Leivo /

Josh Leivo

There is a good chance that Leivo finally gets back into the lineup against the Bruins on Saturday night, with Kapanen being bumped up to the third line. With only one game left before the trade deadline, this would be the best opportunity the 24-year-old will have to showcase himself.

It has been a frustrating season for the Innisfil native with the reported trade request and recently telling The Athletic that he just wants to play. While this may not have been the way he expected to get back into game action, it is the chance he has been waiting for.

Now it is still possible that Babcock chooses to play Matt Martin against the Bruins, but the lines at practice suggest he is going to draw back in.

Coming back against the Bruins presents its challenges but Leivo likely understands how crucial it is to come out with his best effort.

"“I’m just trying to keep a good mindset and working hard and staying ready to play,” Leivo said to The Athletic. “I’m on this team so that’s what my focus is: helping the boys. That’s what I’m going to do. We’ll see when [the] deadline comes.”"

If Leivo is looking to be moved before or at the trade deadline then this is the type of game that can go a long way in helping his trade value which is not high right now understandably.

Next: Is mortgaging the future really worth it for the Leafs?

He has a good shot and showed some play-making ability in the past. If he can avoid being a liability on defence, he can slowly start earning Babcock’s trust and ensure the team’s depth is not impacted greatly by Matthews’ injury.