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With a crowded crease the Flyers opt to put Michael Leighton on waivers

Jan 3, 2011, 12:35 PM EDT

Philadelphia Flyers v Los Angeles Kings Getty Images

Last year we saw Michael Leighton rise out of obscurity to take control of the Flyers goaltending job after Ray Emery went down with a season-ending injury. Leighton battled injuries himself but seized control of the starting job once again in the playoffs and led the Flyers to the Stanley Cup finals, a feat that earned him a new two-year contract with the Flyers.

After going down with a back injury in training camp and opening the door for Sergei Bobrovsky to steal a part-time starting job with the Flyers, Leighton is now the odd man out in Philly as the team has placed him on waivers. While Bobrovsky was the man who carried the Flyers for the first two months of the season, it’s been Brian Boucher who has done his part to keep things steady in goal. With that two headed attack and the Flyers being hard up against the cap, something had to give. Leighton’s two-year deal comes with a cap hit of $1.55 million and the Flyers could certainly use the flexibility.

Leighton’s been down this road before having been waived by the Carolina Hurricanes last season before being picked up by Philadelphia and becoming one of their heroes last year. With Tampa Bay having made a move already trading for Dwayne Roloson, the market for a useful goaltender is a bit thin.

If Leighton clears waivers he’ll likely head to the AHL and join Adirondack and give the Flyers the salary freedom they’re looking for that way. If there’s a team that could think about making a claim on Leighton it’s the Islanders. Yes, they traded away Roloson to Tampa Bay but unless they figure Nathan Lawson is the guy they can bank on to backup the fragile Rick DiPietro, it might not be a bad fit.

  1. bobbcronin - Jan 3, 2011 at 9:52 PM

    If a team claims Leighton on the way down to the minors, do the Flyers have to pay 1/2 of his remaining salary? Or does this rule only apply to re-entry waivers? Would the Flyers be required to pay 1/2 of his salary next season also (as he just signed a two year contract)? If so, I think this is weak cap management, as some team is bound to need a goalie before the trade deadline!

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