Photo Credit: Vancouver Canucks / Twitter

Canucks sign Josh Leivo to one-year contract

The Canucks have signed another of their pending restricted free agents this morning

They agreed to terms on a one-year deal with Josh Leivo that will see him earn $1.5 million next season.

Leivo was acquired in a mid-season trade with the Toronto Maple Leafs that saw Michael Carcone go the other way. He appeared in 49 games with the Canucks following the trade scoring 10 goals and 8 assists along the way. Leivo had also appeared in 27 games with the Leafs prior to being moved to Vancouver.

Leivo set career-highs in games played, goals, assists, and points last season.

It will be interesting to see how Leivo slots into the lineup next season with the addition of JT Miller. Leivo had seen some time in the top six but could be moved down to a third line role as the team looks to bring balance to their lineup.

This deal is basically a ‘show me’ deal for Leivo before either side commits to a long-term contract. He will be a unrestricted free agent next summer at the conclusion of this deal.

The Canucks still have Nikolay Goldobin and Brock Boeser as restricted free agents among the forwards.

  • Killer Marmot

    There’s rarely been much drama in re-signings in Vancouver during Benning’s tenure. Even when it takes a while for the parties to come to terms, the negotiations don’t cut into the season (knock on wood) and the players don’t come with any noticable animosity. It’s all quite professional.

    • wojohowitz

      Oh yeah, quite professional. The apologists here love that comment. First it`s the Luongo recapture problem, then the Miller trade ($5.5m) followed by the Myers signing ($6m) and then the `Kick in the Shins` surprise and now it`s his negotiating position with Boeser re: he doesn`t have the money so Boeser will have to take what`s offered and you know what Boeser thinks? How about; It`s amateur hour. Benning is clueless. I gotta get out of here as soon as possible, otherwise known as a complete lack of confidence in management. It`s a gawd dam sh*t show.

      • Killer Marmot

        The negative is adequately handled by others.

        At any rate, it’s true. Benning seems to know how to negotiate with players while ruffling a minimum of feathers.

  • J-Canuck

    This is an opportunity for Leivo, Pearson, and Baer and to show that they are top six forwards in the NHL. Leivo should potential, but would disappear as would his shot. I don’t like Josh playing on the top line. I think that should go to Miller. He can pass as well as shoot, which will help EP and Brock. I think Baer fits best on 2nd line, but Josh has a chance to prove he can score 20 goals in the league.

  • Kanuckhotep

    Good signing for what it is. Leivo is a vast improvement over Leipzic and Gaunce and while not flashy you trust him out there. A full year with a training camp to start for him as well as Pearson, QH, Miller and other guys who weren’t here at the beginning of last year or at all last year shall tell the tale as to whether the Canucks will be better next season.

  • Colby7

    Is anybody else seeing a unified strategy by NHL GM’s to get players coming off of ELC’s back to a manageable situation?

    Basically every GM with a potentially expensive RFA has taken a similar approach. Spend the money elsewhere and remove that level of leverage. Even the AHO deal reaks of collusion to me. Are you telling me there is no chance the 2 GM’s worked together in order to get the player signed to a decent contract and set the market? There was 0% chance of Carolina not matching and they even stated the number was low.

    Rangers – 8 million cap space and 4 RFA’s including Trouba
    Toronto – 3.5 or more depending on LTIR, RFA includes Marner
    Vancouver – 5.5 million, Boeser RFA
    Tampa – 5.5 million, Point RFA
    Flames – 9 million, RFA’s include Bennet and Tkachuk

    • J-Canuck

      I think any collusion, as you put it, is out of common goals. Every GM wants to put the best team on the ice with the most team friendly contracts. Now some GMs have budget constraints and some are close to a cup and will spend to win, but most are in the same boat.
      Like if you and your neighbor both have savings accounts and retirement investments, doesn’t mean you sat down together and planned it out. You just have similar goals

      • Killer Marmot

        That’s not how it works. Unless Roussel is sent down, his salary will count towards the cap space at the beginning of the year even though he’s on the IR.

        But … Cap Friendly has got 26 healthy players on the roster when calculating the cap space, even though the limit is 23. The Canucks will be sending a bunch down before the season starts, thus reducing the cap hit by maybe $5 million. This means the Canucks have about $10 million to sign Boeser and Goldobin.

        • Dan the Fan

          Looks like they had enough money they didn`t need to buy out Spooner. If they`d have buried him in the AHL they`d have a 2m cap hit. The buyout costs 1m, so buying him out only saved 1m. If Boeser gets 7m and Goldobin gets 2m, they`d still be under the cap without a Spooner buyout. But then they`d have an extra 1m next year.

        • j2daff

          8.9M at most, look at the players and remember that $$$ over a certain amount still count against the cap in utic. That’s also without making room the players with bonuses in their contracts which count against the cap at the end of the season, possibly 4.7M, seeing that a good chunk of that is likely Hughes/Petey you should expect a chunk to be paid. LTIR also doesn’t directly help with this as it is just relief from being over the cap while the players is injured and bonuses are after the fact.

  • Alex G

    I posted the following on another site 6 1/2 hours ago. I am reposting it here as it’s quite relevant to the discussions.
    Re Leivo: Pretty good player at a good price. While GMJB is looking at trade opportunities to move out some assets/salary (and possibly get another top 6 FWD), even if does NOTHING more, the Canucks are in a good position to sign BB long term and Goldy short term.

    FWDS: Moving Schaller, Gaudette and Baily to Utica saves about $2.69M.
    DEF: Moving Fantenberg, Brisbois, and Sautner to Utica saves about $2.22M.
    Cap Space cleared: $4.91M
    Current Cap space as per CF: $5.57M
    Estimated Space: $10.48

    That is more than enough to sign Boeser to a short, mid or long term deal, as well as Goldobin to a 1 or 2 year deal. That doesn’t even include the LITR ($3M) for Roussel to start the season.

    Possible line combos, just a guess:
    Baertschi – EP40 – Boeser
    Pearson – Horvat- JT Miller
    Leivo – Sutter – Virtanen
    Eriksson – Beagle – Motte
    extra Goldobin

    Edler – Tanev
    Hughes – Myers
    Benn – Stetcher
    Extra: Beiga

    Markstrom – Demko

    The 23rd player is Roussel. Once the season starts, the Canucks can put him on LTIR and allow for $3M of relief to bring up/in another player .

    That’s a MUCH better looking line up than last year. Hopefully it will be a relatively healthy season for all.

    By the way the minimum player salary for 2019-20 is $700K, so the cap relief of sending someone down to Utica with a larger cap hit is $700K + $375K =$1,075,000.

    • TheRealPB

      Alex, I agree with all that you’ve written — this is a helpful recap of the real situation. The problem for me still remains that at this point outside of the Luongo cap recapture, it’s all cleaning up his own messes that has Benning in this situation that is much tighter than it needs to be. Sure, there are a bunch of AHL players who’ll get sent back to Utica and save us another $5 million or so. Biega or Fantenberg is inconsequential. But while you have 2 of potentially 3 superstar players on ELCs (Hughes and EP), we are an almost cap team based primarily on Benning’s poor evaluation of pro talent. Who would we say are really overpaid on the Canucks? Eriksson ($6 million), Sutter ($4.75 million), Beagle ($3 million). That’s a whole lot of money to be putting into 4th line players. Even turning Gudbranson into a much better player in Pearson doesn’t wholly excuse that trade and resigning. I agree with you that it’s a much better looking lineup. But if Miller and Myers don’t pan out in the ways that Sutter, Eriksson and Gudbranson did not, we are in for a world of hurt, especially when we have to pay for the good younger players. The fact that we’re even discussing the challenges of resigning Boeser and Goldobin — by far the two best RFAs we had for the off-season — is pretty sad in a rebuilding year.

      • Killer Marmot

        By my estimate, the total overpay is around $6 million measured in cap space. That’s not good, but it’s not unusual by NHL standards. Every transaction is a bet, and some of the bets won’t pay off for even the best manager.

        Is Benning’s performance worse than most? Somewhat I think, but it’s not horrible.

      • Alex G

        Definitely made mistakes in a number of the UFA signings in the past few years. Benning is far from perfect, and even really good GMs make mistakes. Looking at every teams’ roster on CapFriendly over the past year or two, it reveals that nearly all teams have had 1-3 players who are clearly or even grossly overpaid. Eriksson and Sutter are definitely the hardest to move. As one of the best in faceoffs and a very good PK guy, I personally don’t mind the Beagle signing overall. Much better value than Schaller’s. I am, however, starting to like where the team is trending the last couple of years overall, as I like the Roussell, Myers, and Benn signings, the Myers trade, and JB’s drafting overall.

        My post only looked at the scenario of Benning doing “nothing more” for the rest of the summer in terms of trading/moving salary. I do expect Benning to make further moves, and there are many possibilities to create more space and/or move out excess players. My main point was that we can sign Boeser and Goldy with current situation. Look at how many teams are not in a position to do so.

        • TheRealPB

          You’re right that almost every other team has bad contracts. What I see is that there are only a handful of teams that have large contracts not being given out to bottom end players. In other words while Chicago is burdened by Seabrook and the Oilers by Lucic, they still dedicate the bulk of their cap to players like Toews, Kane, McDavid and Draisaitl. The same is true of most teams other than Ottawa, maybe CBJ and Philadelphia. We have right now the bulk of our money going to only one top tier player (Horvat); otherwise it is 3 x 2nd pairing defensemen (Edler, Tanev and Myers), and 2 x bottom six forwards (Eriksson and Sutter). I can understand why teams like the Leafs or Lightning or Flames struggle with the cap when so much money goes to players in their prime, proven scorers or young stars; it is less understandable to pay so much to lower-tier players. I get it when we spend $14 million on the Sedins and another $6 million on Luongo, but to pay $15 million on fourth liners makes little sense, especially when you’ve got good young stars coming up.

          • Bud Poile

            Sutter played third line minutes.
            Green pidgeon-holed Eriksson into a defensive role-one that he’s excellent at- so there’s that.
            Finally,Beagle makes $3 million and is one of the best face off men in the game. Your $15 million third line does not exist.
            Miller makes 250k less than Bo,Brock will make more than everybody and then Petey will make the most -unless Quinn becomes the third Calder candidate in three years.
            Both Sutter and Loui will be long gone before Petey gets paid- which was the plan all along.

          • TheRealPB

            Does it make it seem better to you that we have a $15 million fourth line and not a third? I also had a general sense that things wouldn’t be a pinch because big contracts were coming off the books. But that isn’t really the case when we then put big money down on new vets who are equally unproven. I really hope that JT Miller and Myers step up. There’s no question that the team on paper is better than it was a year ago — I would take Myers, Hughes and Benn over Pouliot, Gudbranson and MDZ in a heartbeat. I think the D is vastly improved.

            But let’s say that all things that we want to happen DO happen this year. That Edler and Tanev stay healthy. That Virtanen and Gaudette take a step forward. That Goldobin puts it together. That Leivo and Stecher continue their upward trajectory. That Markstrom puts a full season as a #1 goalie together. That’s what we want, right? At that point you are looking at a lot of good young players needing contracts next off-season and the flexibility that we once had gone, not just on Luongo’s recapture, but on dead cap from Benning signings — Spooner’s million (the Gagner signing), and $15 million in Sutter, Beagle and Eriksson. I don’t mind having ONE of those as an overpay but three is an unnecessary obstacle for a putatively rebuilding team.