Michael Leighton found himself in a familiar position on Monday, and it’s not between the pipes in Philadelphia. Leighton was placed on waivers by the Philadelphia Flyers, and could be headed for Adirondack of the AHL if he clears. The Flyers obtained Leighton from the Carolina Hurricanes last season via reentry waivers, and he would later help lead the club to the Stanley Cup Finals after posting three shutouts versus the Montreal Canadians in the Eastern Conference final.
The Flyers’ crease had become crowded with the unexpected emergence of Sergei Bobrovsky, although, many figured Brian Boucher to be the odd man out when Leighton returned from back surgery.
Leighton had signed a two-year $3.1 million deal in the offseason, but opted for back surgery just prior to the beginning of the 2010-11 campaign. Nobody likes a “told you so” type, but Kent Wilson called this deal a “terrible bet” back in October:
Michael Leighton is little more than an average NHL goaltender and his noteworthy results from last season were a fluke. The 29 year-old journeyman has appeared in 103 games over the course of his career, managing an uninspiring .902 save rate. I haven’t done the requisite math to be sure of this, but that strikes me as little more than replacement level performance… The contract isn’t overly pricey and the emergence of Bobrovsky may save Holmgren from himself. That said, it was a terrible bet to make, particularly for a franchise that has a long, storied history of signing the wrong goaltender.
Assuming Leighton clears waivers, he could very well see some action with the Flyers down the road. An injury to either Bobrovsky or Boucher could mean a call-up for Leighton, although he’ll have to make it through reentry waivers once again. The last time that happened was a seemingly career changing moment for Leighton.