It might not exactly by a “vote of confidence” for incumbent goalies Sergei Bobrovsky and Brian Boucher, but the Philadelphia Flyers decided to place playoff hero Michael Leighton on re-entry waivers today, according to TSN’s Bob McKenzie. This is another interesting twist to a busy two seasons for Leighton, who came to the Flyers when the team scooped him up when the Carolina Hurricanes placed him on waivers.
After becoming the team’s go-to goalie in their run to the Stanley Cup finals, Leighton elected to undergo off-season surgery. His absence gave Bobrovsky a chance to steal the starting job, something the Russian rookie did with aplomb (although he’s obviously slowing down a bit now). The Flyers benefited from their goaltending depth last season when injuries were the biggest problem, so perhaps inconsistency will be this year’s reason.
The move produces some interesting storylines within the Flyers organization, but it also creates an interesting opportunity for NHL teams who need another goalie. McKenzie points out that if another team claims Leighton, he won’t be able to play until next season, but the Flyers and that squad would split the costs of his contract.
As McKenzie also said, Leighton will make $1.6 million next season with a $1.55 million cap hit, meaning that another team could grab a goalie with solid playoff experience for just $800K.
That price would make him an absolute steal if a GM thinks he can be a dependable starter (the Florida Panthers, maybe?) or even a decent value as either a 1b/backup. Contenders such as the Detroit Red Wings and Buffalo Sabres might want to take a look, while teams with wayward netminder rotations such as the Panthers and Colorado Avalanche may also want to consider adding him to their rotations.
We’ll let you know if anyone scoops Leighton up in the next day. In case you were wondering, the Panthers also called up undersized forward Tim Kennedy on re-entry waivers, also according to McKenzie.