The club announced it signed 35-year-old goalie Michael Leighton to a one-year, two-way deal worth $700,000 at the NHL level. Last season with the Rockford IceHogs, he posted a 28-8-8 record and a .918 save percentage.
Leighton joins the Hurricanes organization with 106 games of NHL experience, posting a career record of 35-41-10-4 and a save percentage of .901, and almost 300 regular season games in the American Hockey League.
Carolina wanted a veteran puck stopper in the minors, especially with prospect Alex Nedeljkovic, the team’s second-round pick, 37th overall, from the 2014 draft, looking to make the jump from juniors to the pro game.
“Michael is a veteran player who gives our organization reliable depth in goal,” said Hurricanes GM Ron Francis in a statement. “He is a true professional who also will serve as a valuable mentor for the young goaltenders in our system.”
Signed to a three-year entry-level deal in March of 2015, Nedeljkovic has played three games in the ECHL for the Florida Everblades, while splitting his final year of junior in 2015-16 with the Flint Firebirds and Niagara IceDogs, and he would likely need more seasoning down in the minors.
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