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Report: Michael Leighton clears waivers, will play in AHL (for now)

Jan 4, 2011, 1:58 PM EDT

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Tim Brent, Darroll Powe

It’s easy to empathize with Michael Leighton.

After all, it seems like he’s a victim of bad timing – or the eternal state of upheaval that is the Philadelphia Flyers’ goalie positions – more than anything else. After securing a new two-year, $3 million contract thanks to his stunning run to the Stanley Cup finals, the former Carolina Hurricanes product required off-season surgery in September.

That injury cleared the way for the unexpected rise of rookie Sergei Bobrovsky, who just recently seems to be on his way back to Earth (not surprisingly, this began around the time Chris Pronger went on the injured reserve). With a backup who ranges from passable to brilliant in Brian Boucher, the Flyers decided to place Leighton on waivers thanks to their perilous salary cap situation.

Tim Panaccio reports that the big goalie cleared waivers today while Sam Carchidi writes that he was seen “appearing upset” as he packed his bags, being that he is primed to join the the Adirondack Phantoms once again. Many thought that the New York Islanders would decide to pick him up on waivers after Rick DiPietro left Monday’s game against the Calgary Flames with an injury, but that did not come to pass.

Travis Hughes of the Flyers blog Broadstreet Hockey fills in the details regarding Leighton’s future (and lack thereof with Philadelphia).

Leighton will still get paid his full salary, but he’s removed from the Flyers’ capped payroll. With Erik Gustafsson back on the Phantoms, and assuming Leighton is officially assigned before 5 p.m. today, the Flyers are actually just barely under the salary cap by $4,262 per day, according to our Geoff Detweiler.

Leighton cannot be called up to the Flyers without being subject to re-entry waivers, which in a nutshell means he likely won’t ever be a Flyer again (until three seasons from now when the claim him on waivers again…). The only way, it seems, for him to make it back to the Flyers would be during training camp next year when waivers do not apply. That is, if he’s not traded or claimed in re-entry or retired because the Phantoms make him miserable before then.

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