Josh Leivo is getting the Frankie Corrado conditioning loan tour of the Marlies! Except no, this is not the same thing.
Last year, when the Leafs kept Frank Corrado out of game action for a long time, they sent him to the AHL on a conditioning loan of the ordinary sort. Those are 14 days long; the player remains on the 23-man roster; his salary counts against the cap, and he is paid his full NHL salary and bonuses.
This is different, and I’m hitting you with the full section from the CBA:
13.9 Bona Fide Long-Term Injury/Illness Exception Conditioning Loan. A Player who is on the Bona Fide Long-Term Injury/Illness Exception as set forth in Article 50 may, with his consent, during the term of such Bona Fide Long-Term Injury/Illness Exception (but in no event during the first fourteen (14) calendar days and six (6) NHL Games), be Loaned on a Conditioning Loan (the "Bona Fide Long-Term Injury/Illness Exception Conditioning Loan") for a period not to exceed up to the longer of six (6) days and three (3) games, solely for the purpose of determining whether the Player is fit to play. If the Club determines that it needs more time to assess the Player's fitness to play, the Club may file a written request with the Commissioner's Office, with a copy to the NHLPA, in accordance with Exhibit 3 hereof, to extend the Loan for an additional two (2) games. The Commissioner, upon good cause, may approve the one-time extension. The Commissioner's approval shall not be unreasonably withheld. A Player on a Bona Fide Long-Term Injury/Illness Exception Conditioning Loan will continue to be listed on Injured Reserve and will not count against the Club's 23-man roster limit. The Club's Bona Fide Long-Term Injury/Illness Exception will continue until the Conditioning Loan ends, and his Paragraph 1 NHL Salary and Bonuses will continue to count against the Club's Upper Limit and the Players' Share during such time. The Commissioner may take whatever steps he deems necessary to investigate the circumstances under which a Player is placed on a Bona Fide LongTerm Injury/Illness Conditioning Loan. If he has reason to believe or determines that the Club has used the Bona Fide Long-Term Injury/Illness Conditioning Loan to evade Waivers or otherwise to Circumvent any provision of this Agreement, he may take other disciplinary action against the Club as he deems appropriate. A Bona Fide Long-Term Injury/Illness Conditioning Loan may be extended on one occasion. This procedure can only be used once during each period of time that the Player is on a Bona Fide Long-Term Injury Exception.
Now if that all sounds like Leivo would have had to be on Long Term Injury Relief (LTIR) to qualify for this loan, the reality seems to be that as long as you meet the criteria for the LTIR, the team does not actually have to have put you on it. And the criteria is that you are unfit to play for 24 days or 10 NHL games. Today, is, of course, the Leafs’ tenth game.
This means Leivo can play for the Marlies for three games or six days. The Marlies play in St. John’s on Saturday and Sunday, and then they do not play again until the following weekend, so all this adds up to one weekend in Newfoundland for Leivo.
If the Leafs can’t decide from those games, and the practices before them, if he is fit to play in the NHL, they can ask for an extension for two more games.
Why this type of loan if it’s so short?
The answer is that Leivo stays on IR while he’s on the Marlies, and therefore does not count against the 23-man roster.
The Leafs have been running a packed roster since the start of the regular season with Leivo on IR. They’ve added Matt Hunwick to IR and called up Nikita Soshnikov, and that makes 25 players, 23 of whom are not injured. By sending Leivo to the Marlies under these rules, they can keep all those balls in the air a little longer as he stays on the injured list.
The only possible flaw in this perfect arrangement is that the Commissioner, Gary Bettman, can investigate the nature of the injure that Leivo has been suffering from if he thinks something hinky is going on here. Leivo is not on LTIR as far as anyone knows, so his salary still counts against the cap. The only thing the Leafs are gaining is a chance to see him play and perhaps prove that to interested teams if a trade is possible. That, and the ability to run an oversized roster without exposing anyone else they have sitting in the pressbox to wiavers.