Jan 052011
Flyers goaltender Michael Leighton

Former Flyers goaltender Michael Leighton

January 5 Philadelphia Daily News:

 “When the clock struck noon yesterday, Michael Leighton was left without a date for the dance.

Leighton was waived, for the fifth time in his NHL career, by the Flyers on Monday. He had hoped to stay in the NHL.

Leighton was passed over by all 29 NHL teams and officially cleared waivers yesterday. He was reassigned to the Adirondack Phantoms, likely putting a permanent cap on his magical 1-year run with the Flyers.

“The hardest part is once you think you have security in life, you sign a 2-year deal and you come into camp thinking you’re a starting goalie,” Leighton said as he packed his bags for Glens Falls, N.Y. “Going from that mind-set, to being injured and working to get that spot back, to going to the minors . . . It’s tough.

“It’s going to be tough on me and my family.”

Leighton will still earn the entire 2-year, $3.1 million contract he signed with the Flyers on June 30, though he will do so in the AHL. Any team that claimed Leighton yesterday – and it looked like the Islanders might be interested with oft-injured star Rick DiPietro going down again Monday in Calgary – also would have needed to pay Leighton his full salary.

Leighton actually will earn more in the AHL than he would in the NHL since he does not have to pay an approximate 15 percent of his salary in escrow that NHL players are subjected to as part of the Collective Bargaining Agreement.

“I just want to be in the NHL,” Leighton said. “I want to go down and work on my game and get back to where I should be. That’s all I can control. I want to get back here. I hope it happens.

“It’s tough to leave. I love all of these guys in the [locker] room, these guys become family. On the other hand, I’m not gone. I’m still part of the organization. I’ve got to work hard and try to get back.”

In a lot of ways, Leighton is gone from the organization, though Comcast-Spectacor will still cut his checks biweekly. He would be more than an attractive option for teams if the Flyers were to recall him on re-entry waivers, where teams could claim him for half the price.”

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