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This should solve everything: Flyers re-sign G Michael Leighton

Jul 1, 2012, 12:20 PM EDT

Michael Leighton AP

Just when you thought Philadelphia’s goaltending situation couldn’t get any more bizarre, it just got more bizarre.

According to various reports, the Flyers have re-signed Michael Leighton — their starting goalie from the 2010 Stanley Cup finals — to a one-year deal worth $900,000.

Since the ’10 finals  Leighton has played exactly one game at the NHL level, spending almost all of his time with Philly’s AHL affiliate in Adirondack. He went 28-26-1 with the Phantoms last year, posting a .918 save percentage and 2.58 GAA.

As for trying to explain the signing…

After trading Sergei Bobrovsky to Columbus prior to the draft, he Flyers were in the market for a backup to Ilya Bryzgalov, preferably an older netminder with some experience. The market looked to have a few available, but with veteran presences like Martin Biron and Scott Clemmensen being retained by their respective clubs, the Flyers might’ve looked at dwindling options and decided it was best to keep things in house.

While we’re still seeking confirmation on whether it’s a one- or two-way deal, CSN Philadelphia’s Tim Panaccio suggests Leighton “likely ends up” as Bryzgalov’s backup for 2012-13.

  1. icdogg - Jul 1, 2012 at 12:24 PM

    This is what I expected. He’s sufficient as a backup.

    • dolanster - Jul 1, 2012 at 12:28 PM

      “Sufficient as a backup” if your starter isn’t a head-case with a track record of losing his mind and going off the tracks completely for long stretches and/or in the playoffs. However, I guess if by “sufficient” you mean ‘normal for the Flyers’ then I maybe you’re correct. How many goalie Conn Smythe winners does Homer or Clarke need to see before they start taking this position seriously? Bonus question / hint: who was their best player the last time the Flyers won the Cup?

      • icdogg - Jul 1, 2012 at 12:32 PM

        Well then, see, your problem is with the starter. Taking it out on the backup accomplishes nothing. It’s not as if a great starting goalie is available.

      • dolanster - Jul 1, 2012 at 12:33 PM

        Vulnerable starters require better-than-average backups. What’s complicated about that logic?

      • icdogg - Jul 1, 2012 at 12:34 PM

        And what “better than average” backup did you have in mind that the Flyers could sign today?

      • dolanster - Jul 1, 2012 at 12:39 PM

        Today maybe too late, but I bet Biron or Clemmensson were available earlier this week. Today maybe Chris Mason. There are guys out there, but now they’d require moving bodies, and the Flyers just seem to be into letting Bryz sink or swim. Maybe that’s justified, but I have a hard time seeing it lead to success.

      • bdawk20 - Jul 1, 2012 at 2:24 PM

        Well, the problem with dolanster’s logic is that when you have so much money tied into your number 1, and you are not going to bring anyone in to compete for the #1 job, you sign the cheapest alternative for spot-starts you can find that will do a serviceable job. What about this is hard to understand? Bryz is the Flyers goalie regardless, because they are stuck in the contract. Imagine what happens to this team if they tie TOO much $$ into what you would consider a better backup goaltending option..

    • kingjoe1 - Jul 1, 2012 at 12:40 PM

      Agree. ML is a fine backup. His AHL numbers were strong and for 20
      Games a year he wl do well.

    • eigglesnosuperbowls - Jul 1, 2012 at 12:50 PM

      My spidey sense is telling me that Bryz will be moved in the Ryan or Nash deal, and the real New Jersey player they are targeting is Marty B !

  2. uncledick - Jul 1, 2012 at 12:30 PM

    Saves them money to use elsewhere

  3. 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Jul 1, 2012 at 12:33 PM

    Boring. It’s been July 1st for over 12 hours, where are all the 50-year/$2 billion contracts?

    • icdogg - Jul 1, 2012 at 12:35 PM

      market just opened up at noon

      • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Jul 1, 2012 at 12:37 PM

        Still makes it 40 minutes without a megadeal.

      • icdogg - Jul 1, 2012 at 12:38 PM

        With the numbers some of these guys are asking for it takes time to make deals like that, I guess

  4. redux12 - Jul 1, 2012 at 12:33 PM

    The guy who had three shutouts in the eastern conference finals a couple of years ago? Oh yeah, I remember him. The whole team disappeared in the cup final, including Mike Richards and Jeff Carter. Our third defensive pairing was awful (Krajicek and Bartullis), and most of the goals in that series came when those two were on the ice.

    For every Jonathan Quick who wins a cup, there’s a Antti Niemi or Chris Osgood. It’s a team game, and if you were to put Quick in net in Columbus this year he wouldn’t have been nearly as effective. The two teams that just played in the final both were dedicated to the TEAM defense concept, which allows the goaltenders to build confidence.

    • dolanster - Jul 1, 2012 at 12:36 PM

      Wrong on the stats. Osgood and Niemi are perhaps the only two ‘average’ netminders who have won the cup in the last 20+ years. They’re the exception, not the rule — like winning the Superbowl with Trent Dilfer. It can happen, just doesn’t happen often.

      • icdogg - Jul 1, 2012 at 12:48 PM

        We all know that had Parent been out, they would not have won either Cup with Bobby Taylor. But that’s not the point. Taylor was, like Leighton, an adequate backup for what was expected from him. Same thing with backup quarterbacks. They’re usually nothing special.

    • dolanster - Jul 1, 2012 at 12:51 PM

      Yah, but you have to admit when you don’t have a Parent, and back him up with someone who’s capable of really stepping in. That’s when you have success with a tandem, like Cheevers-Johnston, Fuhr-Moog and Fuhr-Ranford, etc. Putting Leighton in that spot is like saying, “Okay, Bryz — it’s all you.” Maybe that’s the management message that the brass wants to send, but does anyone really think that’s a good idea?

  5. dolanster - Jul 1, 2012 at 1:08 PM

    Or — look at it this way. In the 40 years from 1968 to 2008, only four Cups were won by inactive goalies who are NOT in the Hall of Fame: Vernon, Ranford, Barrasso, Richter. Of the guys who have won who are still active: Brodeur, Gigeure, Fluery, Ward, Niemi, it’s safe to say Marty is going to the Hall and Jiggy and Ward are Conn Smythe winners. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that having an extraordinary goaltender is a near-requirement to winning the Cup. Maybe you’re right, that the problem is Bryz not Leighton, but I think it’s sad to watch the Flyers squander the talent they have up front (again). The Cup is not coming to Philly until they solve the goalie position.

    • phillyphan83 - Jul 1, 2012 at 1:43 PM

      Wrong, the problem was NOT Bryz, its the blue-line. We had HORRID defense and unless we fix THAT, it will be a tough road.

  6. bobhpine - Jul 1, 2012 at 1:30 PM


    • phillyphan83 - Jul 1, 2012 at 1:41 PM

      2011 1st round exit for your so-called soup can army.

  7. phillyphan83 - Jul 1, 2012 at 1:37 PM

    Oh man, more people than don’t understand what they’re talking about. Here’s why this was the right move…Bryz is the type of player than needs to know and feel like he’s the guy and the ONLY guy. He needs a backup that poses no threat to taking his job. With Bob in town, and any other “good, experienced vet” they could have signed, Bryz was always looking over his shoulder, unable to be comfortable with his position on the team. Now he knows, he’s our ONLY option and ML will only play to get him a breather now and then.

    • dolanster - Jul 1, 2012 at 1:58 PM

      Good luck with that. What if he craters? What if he gets hurt? Then you have Michael Leighton as your #1 and after that …. nobody? Good management thinking there.

      • sizzle299 - Jul 1, 2012 at 3:36 PM

        Do you have to reply to every comment on here? Your postings are all crap- keep them to yourself.

      • dolanster - Jul 2, 2012 at 10:59 AM

        You’re unfamiliar with the concept of commenting on a post I guess. I know you’re just transferring your Flyer fan rage, s’okay. I understand.

  8. bobhpine - Jul 1, 2012 at 3:20 PM

    Bryz needs to know he’s the guy? Sounds mentally tough. Should be no problem counting on him to win 16 playoff games. How many knock knocks did he get last year? 5? At least he’ll only be around until 2020, ha

  9. bobhpine - Jul 1, 2012 at 4:18 PM

    Have to

  10. bobhpine - Jul 1, 2012 at 4:19 PM

    What is a posting? Ha

  11. capsfan19 - Jul 1, 2012 at 4:32 PM

    HA HA HA HA!! I guess leighton gained more wisdom in his time with the phantoms………..

  12. skippyx - Jul 1, 2012 at 8:26 PM

    Leighton was 3rd in GAA and 5th in save percentage in the 2010 playoffs. He shut out Montreal in 3 of 5 games to lead the Flyers to the Cup finals. Anyone remember what he did to the 3-0 series lead Bruins? He had a .918 and a 2.48 with Philly that season in 27 games.

    He had a back injury early in 2010-11, then cap hell and Bob’s early showing kept him in the minors for most of the last 2 seasons.

    Leighton is a major upgrade to the joke that was Bob last year (.899 3.02) and he saves the team 850k in a cap driven league.

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