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Holmgren raises possibility of Leighton being Bryzgalov’s backup

Jun 24, 2012, 12:54 PM EDT

Michael Leighton AP

The Philadelphia Flyers got a decent haul of draft picks when they traded Sergei Bobrovsky to Columbus. Still, it did leave them without a clear understudy for Ilya Bryzgalov and while there will certainly be appealing candidates on the free agent market, Philadelphia is somewhat limited by its poor cap situation.

They need someone relatively cheap and Flyers GM Paul Holmgren apparently already has someone in mind.

“We talked about Michael Leighton, who is still really our guy,” Holmgren said, according to Frank Seravalli of the Philadelphia Daily News and Inquirer. “Ilya plays a lot of games and we’re counting on him playing a lot of games next year. We’ll do our work and come up with a good guy.”

Leighton did have one good run with the Philadelphia Flyers back in 2009-10, which convinced them to sign him to a two-year contract worth $3.1 million. Over the course of that deal, he spent almost all of his time in the minors and ended up playing in just one NHL game. Seravalli claims that Leighton “made no friends inside the organization.”

Leighton is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent this summer and is likely to take a significant pay cut.

It’s worth noting that he did put up good numbers in the AHL, so maybe he’s still capable of being a decent backup under a goaltender that’s capable of making 65-plus starts. That being said, Leighton sounds more like a fallback option that the Flyers should only consider for the number two gig if things don’t go their way in the first week of July.

  1. jamawl - Jun 24, 2012 at 1:02 PM


  2. Brian - Jun 24, 2012 at 1:06 PM

    So, Leighton is 31, not 39.

    That said, this is probably the craziest idea I’ve heard all day.

  3. eigglesnosuperbowls - Jun 24, 2012 at 1:37 PM

    Its a great idea, Brz is being paid to carry the load a load of $51 mil ! baring injury he should play 85 % of the time ! You get Leighton cheap and save cap space for a big time free agent Holmgren is brilliant ! Broad Street get ready for a parade !

    • dolanster - Jun 24, 2012 at 4:25 PM

      Lol. Funny stuff.

      • eigglesnosuperbowls - Jun 24, 2012 at 4:36 PM

        Backup your statement then and lets just see how funny it is instead of being a punk with a smart remark !

      • dolanster - Jun 26, 2012 at 12:49 AM

        I’d actually love to see Bryz do well, as he seems like a nice guy. But frankly, the odds are long. He’s a head case, always has been, and he’s not a good fit for the run and gun Flyers. I’m assuming as a Flyers fan, you’ve watched your team get bombed out of the playoffs for the last two seasons, with a revolving door at the goalie end of the bench, no? If you’re confident resting your playoff hopes on Michael Leighton, when Bryz invariably blows a tire, then you’re a brave man indeed. Good luck with that parade planning. Save me a seat.

    • crazemastercraze - Jun 24, 2012 at 7:07 PM

      yeah, Holmgren is a total genius. maybe he can use that saved money to bring back sergi zheradev or some other high salaried waste of oxygen….

  4. obamablowz - Jun 24, 2012 at 1:51 PM

    Rid of 2nd highest paid backup goalie for 3 picks, rid of a guy about to make 6.25 mil for next 5 years for a guy who may make half that. Got younger on already young team. Not a bad job again Homer

  5. icdogg - Jun 24, 2012 at 2:21 PM

    Well, seems like I’m in the minority, but I’m OK with Leighton as backup. Not an exciting choice, but it leaves the Flyers with room to do something else in FA.

  6. bleed4philly - Jun 24, 2012 at 2:37 PM

    He can do it. I think with his experience, not being “the man” will take the pressure off.

  7. mojosmagic - Jun 24, 2012 at 3:03 PM

    Are you kidding me!

  8. icelovinbrotha215 - Jun 24, 2012 at 4:46 PM

    C’mon man. Do we not remember June 2010!?

  9. mclovinhockey - Jun 24, 2012 at 4:50 PM

    @ obama blows…. Who would have made 6.25 and who makes half that…. Cause if u mean JVR for Schenn we saved half a mill in cap and could have gotten a 2nd round pick as well… If we would have packaged the two you were talking about (bob and JVR) to the jackets we would have gotten the number 2 overall pick and prospect.

    If homer does this I will be pissed.

    • somekat - Jun 24, 2012 at 5:16 PM

      Says who? are you close personal friends with the blue jackets GM or something?

      Besides, the #2 pick in this years draft probably doesn’t make an impact for 2-3 years, if at all (JVR was the #2 a few years back). You can’t look at deals and say what the “could” of done, because you dno’t know what they could of done. Not to mention, I doubt Columbus would of been trilled to take on a cap hit like that. Besides, the flyers biggest need isn’t prospects, more than half their team is below 25. At this point in time, it is more important to bring in a guy who can make an impact now, than it is to stockpile prospects. Not saying that will be the case 2 years from now, or even next year, but it is now.

      All in all, they got rid of Bob, who I liked, but just made too much for a backup. They picked up a package of badly needed picks, as they were short on selections this year. They picked up a bruising, young defeneman that could be the anchor for the next 10 years. At the very least, should be a solid contributer for that long.

      Leighton isn’t a sexy pick, but as was mentioned above, is a experiecned, solid, back up. He doesn’t make much, so it saves that little bit of room they do have to make another move. Assuming Prongers moved to the LTIR is a forgone conclusion, they should still have the money to add an impact FA if they want to.

    • obamablowz - Jun 25, 2012 at 12:29 AM

      5 years x 3.6 mil = 18 million…….6 years x 4.25 mil =25.5 million. Sorry….it saves 7 million still pretty good move I say. And if you think you were getting the #2 pick for a not proven goalie and a bust you’re nuts!

  10. phillyphever - Jun 24, 2012 at 7:19 PM

    If Biron isn’t an option, then they have to do it (unless by some miracle they can get someone else on the cheap).

  11. hank10 - Jun 24, 2012 at 7:46 PM

    To borrow a line from A Christmas Story: After letting in the softest goal in Stanley Cup history, Flyers fans let loose a tapestry of profanity which to this day is still hovering somewhere over the Delaware Valley.

  12. sizzle299 - Jun 25, 2012 at 6:22 PM

    Pay him league minimum and sign him, nothing to lose there. He can always hang out in the minors and be a #3 goalie, and if needed play a game or two in the NHL.

    That being said, clearly Homer has his eye on someone to trade away Bob like he did, and there’s plenty of options out there for a backup for workhorse Bryz. So “leaking” this statement is likely a negotiation tactic.

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