The Carolina Hurricanes signed two-way, journeyman forward Josh Leivo to a one-year, $750,000 contract during the first day of free agency.
He spoke to the media on Tuesday afternoon via Zoom on his signing and impressions with the team. Here’s what he had to say:
On what went into his decision with signing in Carolina: The interest of Carolina wanting me was appealing. I’ve heard nothing but great things with the organization now that it’s turned the other way. The coach, I’ve heard nothing but great things. The group of guys, I know a couple who’ve just come and Gardiner I’ve known, and they’ve said nothing but great things. So all around it was exciting and almost an easy decision. I’ve played in Canada the whole time and I think it was time for a change. Raleigh’s a smaller city, but the fanbase is unbelievable. I think it was pretty easy to decide to come here.
On what his style is and how he feels it’ll fit the Canes’ system: I think I skate pretty well. When I first came into the league, it wasn’t that good, but I think I’ve managed to pick that up. I’m going to give it my all every shift and get in on the forecheck and disrupt a lot of pucks. I think I have a good hockey sense to create with whoever I’m playing with. I’m an easy going player. You’re not going to see something really fancy, but I hope my work shows. I’ve had some up and down years, but I’m just looking to get in on a team where I’m appreciated fully and I can show what I’ve got. I think this is a good group for that. There’s a lot of offense and still defense as well. I’m excited for the opportunity to play for this team.
On what his impressions are of the team: When we didn’t make the playoffs, I had Carolina coming out of it into the Final last year. They were, I think, unlucky. They faced a good team and they lost, which is what the playoffs are. But I’m excited. I said last year I wanted to go to a team that wins. It was unfortunate that we weren’t good. It was a good group of guys and everything, but I see a lot of promise here. Young group, young core. I’m not going to be pushing in, I’m just going to try to fit in and do my part. I think that’s what the team wants. It’s exciting seeing the fanbase here over the last couple of years, how it’s developed and it’s just awesome to see that and be a part of it this year.
On his dad getting him into the sport and the rumor that his father had 500 penalty minutes at one point: Yeah, that’s the rumor. In his Junior-A days, he was a bit of a psycho, but he still had a little bit of skill to play with it. The story is that my grandmother would be there for the first period, and when he saw that she wasn’t there anymore, he’d go and play old school hockey the way he enjoyed it. He says 500 minutes is a true story, so I have to go with it, but I do not like to see myself the way he played. I like to be a little more offensive and not be the aggressive type the way he was.
On perhaps having the chance to play on special teams: I find that I’m really effective on the power play. May not show all the time, but I believe I create chances. Like I said, I feel like I have a good hockey sense and I’m well prepared to play on the power play. I’m open to playing whatever. I’ve never played penalty kill, but maybe down the road I’ll see myself on that. But I’m coming in just to work hard and whatever coach wants, I can try my best to do what he’s asking. Power play is in my eyes to hopefully be on it and it starts at camp just showing the work ethic.