Michael Leighton

Ex-NHLer Leighton’s KHL contract voided due to illness


Michael Leighton had a dominant season in the KHL in 2013-14 and was getting ready to play for the expansion team HC Sochi when he began suffering from an illness that prevented him from attending training camp.

Leighton consulted with Sochi and the two sides agreed to void his contract.

“I was with Sochi and got sick and wasn’t sure when I was going to be able to make it there,” Leighton told the Windsor Star. “They have the right to look for another goalie and I agreed that I didn’t know when I’d be able to get there, so we both agreed to terminate the contract.”

The 33-year-old goaltender didn’t elaborate on his health issues. Sochi is interested in re-signing him when he’s healthy enough to play though.

He’s a veteran of 105 NHL games and is perhaps best known for the role he played in Philadelphia’s run to the Stanley Cup Final in 2010. He had a 2.46 GAA and .916 save percentage in 14 contests during that playoff run and ultimately fell to the Chicago Blackhawks when Patrick Kane beat him in overtime.

Leighton had a 1.74 GAA and .933 save percentage in 42 contests with Donbass last season, a Ukrainian-based club that has withdrew from the 2014-15 campaign in light of recent events.

Blue Jackets’ Wennberg done for night with upper-body injury

Alexander Wennberg, Jay Bouwmeester
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It wouldn’t be a regular season game without a Columbus Blue Jackets injury, right?

OK, the Blue Jackets hope that 2015-16 looks different from the medically challenged mess of last season, but at least one player is banged up tonight.

Alexander Wennberg suffered an upper-body injury and won’t return on Friday, as the team noted.

There’s no word yet regarding how serious the issue might be. It looks like he might have suffered an injury thanks to a Chris Kreider check:

Naturally, the Blue Jackets must hope that this doesn’t begin another trend.

Kings grab goalie insurance by signing Budaj

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 22: Jhonas Enroth #1 and Peter Budaj #31 of the Los Angeles Kings stretch before a game against the Arizona Coyotes at STAPLES Center on September 22, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NHLI via Getty Images)
via Los Angeles Kings
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In slightly less interesting Los Angeles Kings news than the latest in the Mike Richards fiasco, the team handed Peter Budaj a one-year, two-way deal on Friday.

The veteran goalie’s contract pays $575K on the NHL level and $100K in the AHL (though it’s $150K guaranteed), according to Hockey’s Cap.

At the moment, it sounds like Budaj will be third on the Kings’ goalie depth chart. That says as much about how things have been going lately for Los Angeles than Budaj’s work on a PTO.

As noted above, one of the more significant moves in Budaj’s favor came when the New York Islanders claimed Jean-Francois Berube off of waivers this week.

The Kings actually waived Budaj before signing him, so this has to be a relief to a goalie with a fairly robust resume as a backup.

All apologies to Budaj, but it’s probably true that the Kings would prefer not to see him at the NHL level very often in 2015-16.