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.
Lawson Crouse has joined a talented group of young forwards in Arizona, after the Coyotes acquired the 2015 first-round pick from the Florida Panthers on Thursday.
The Coyotes had to take on the contract of injured forward Dave Bolland, but in their minds, it was worth it to get a player like Crouse, who certainly brings size up front at six-foot-four-inches tall and 212 pounds. He had 23 goals and 62 points in 49 games this season with Kingston in the OHL.
“He’s a unique guy because usually when you add a guy with the type of size he has you usually give up a little bit in skating or you give up a little bit in skill,” said general manager John Chayka, as per the Coyotes website.
“He’s a guy that you add the size and he actually enhances that for your entire group. In our opinion, it was a guy that’s rare to find, difficult to obtain. Certainly, once they become established in the league, those players are locked up well into their 30s and then you end up trying to maybe overpay for a player that has these attributes that’s not in the prime of his career.”
Crouse, who turned 19 years old in June, now joins the likes of Max Domi, Dylan Strome and Anthony Duclair as part of Arizona’s group of up-and-coming young forwards. He has familiarity with all three from playing in the OHL or for Team Canada at the world juniors.
“He can fly. He’s fast and he hits and he scores goals. You kinda get the total package,” Strome told Sportsnet.
There’s been another possible development in the search for a team name for the Las Vegas NHL franchise.
The Las Vegas ‘Desert Knights’ could perhaps be a thing.
From the Las Vegas Review-Journal:
Last week domain names were registered that might be an indicator that the NHL team scheduled to begin play in 2017 could be called the Las Vegas Desert Knights.
Last week the domains lasvegasdesertknights.com, vegasdesertknights.com and desertknightshockey.com were privately registered to Moniker Privacy Services, which is the same company that procured the domain name to NHL.com.
DetroitHockey.net first reported the new domain name Thursday morning.
Foley said via text message he had no comment regarding the process when reached by the Review-Journal.
As the Las Vegas franchise continues to hire key members for its hockey operations department, there is growing intrigue when it comes to the search for a new name.
What will this new franchise be called?
The wait continues, and there has been a lot of space dedicated to speculating and discussing the possibilities.
It’s been reported that the expansion franchise could use one of at least three ‘Hawks’-orientated names. Owner Bill Foley also said this summer that Las Vegas can’t use a ‘Knights’ nickname is Canada, because London’s OHL franchise was also named the Knights.
Stay tuned . . .
Scott Luce has gone from the Florida Panthers to the Las Vegas expansion franchise.
The new NHL organization — still searching for a team name — announced Thursday that it has hired Luce as its new director of amateur scouting.
Luce spent the last 14 years in Florida, as a scout and as director of player personnel.
Luce was let go earlier in the offseason, as the Panthers underwent massive change within their front office, with the promotion of Dale Tallon to president of hockey operations and Tom Rowe to GM, and more attention to analytics.
After announcing the hiring of Jared Bednar as their next head coach, the Colorado Avalanche have brought in forward Rene Bourque on a professional tryout, according to James Mirtle of the Globe and Mail.
Bourque became an unrestricted free agent at the beginning of July, after his six-year contract worth a total value of $20 million expired. The annual cap hit on his previous deal was $3.333 million.
He spent last season with the Columbus Blue Jackets, scoring three goals and eight points in 49 games. He was placed on waivers at the end of February.
During the 2014-15 campaign, he spent time with the Montreal Canadiens, Anaheim Ducks and the Blue Jackets, before a back injury sidelined him for the remainder of that season.