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Canucks buttress goalie depth, add NHL veteran Michael Leighton

Michael Leighton has been signed by the Canucks to an NHL offer.

Michael Leighton’s great kind with the Utica Comets has received him a Nationwide Hockey League offer.

The Vancouver Canucks introduced Tuesday early morning they had signed the 37-yr-previous goaltender to an NHL offer and placed him on waivers with the intention of returning him to the Comets, who are the Canucks’ American Hockey League affiliate.

Leighton’s offer operates by way of the rest of the season and will pay him distinct salaries, dependent on no matter if he’s in the AHL or the NHL.

Leighton was signed by the Comets to a shorter-expression experienced tryout supply past thirty day period immediately after the Canucks recalled Thatcher Demko and then shed Mike McKenna on waivers to the Philadelphia Flyers.

That remaining the Comets shorter-staffed, with only Ivan Kulbakov under contract.

Because signing with the Comets, Leighton has commenced seven situations and has received 6 straight games when putting up a strong .915 preserve percentage. He also appeared in a few games previously this season with the AHL’s Ontario Reign, going 1-1 and putting up a .859 preserve percentage.

Goalie Michael Leighton takes a water break during the pre-game warmup for an AHL Utica Comets game. (Photo: Handout)

Goalie Michael Leighton normally takes a drinking water crack in the course of the pre-sport warmup for an AHL Utica Comets sport. (Photograph: Handout)


Combined with past week’s Marek Mazanec trade, the Canucks will have four wholesome goalies under contract when Thatcher Demko arrives off injured reserve. The crew initially recommended he would be back wholesome this 7 days, but he did not practise with the Canucks on Monday. (The crew is not skating Tuesday so Demko’s standing remains unfamiliar.)

Even immediately after the Mazanec trade, a signing of Leighton was recommended as still feasible by normal supervisor Jim Benning past 7 days, nevertheless at the identical time he also indicated the veteran goalie wasn’t found within the corporation as a accurate NHL selection.

To clear up their NHL goalie challenge, one particular that resulted in emergency junior remember Mike DiPietro having lit up by the San Jose Sharks in his NHL debut, the Canucks traded a 2020 seventh-round draft select to the Rangers for Mazanec, who has now backed up Jacob Markstrom for a few straight games.

And when there were various other goalies with NHL knowledge and of related evident skill as Mazanec offered to indication as free of charge agents — Jeremy Smith, Chris Driedger, Jamie Phillips, Ken Appleby and Jeff Glass, for case in point — Benning explained he relied on a checklist supplied by director of goaltending Dan Cloutier and goaltending mentor Ian Clark.

Then-New York Rangers goalie Marek Mazanec skates to the dressing room at the end of an Oct. 21, 2018 NHL game against the visiting Calgary Flames at Madison Square Garden.

Then-New York Rangers goalie Marek Mazanec skates to the dressing space at the conclude of an Oct. 21, 2018 NHL sport in opposition to the visiting Calgary Flames at Madison Sq. Backyard.

Bruce Bennett /

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Mazanec was on that checklist and when he was obtained via trade, in Benning’s estimation he was the suitable cost even if it was a draft select going the other way. (For individuals who dismiss the benefit of these a late select, a seventh-round select has been located to have approximately the identical benefit as a third-round select. Sure, incredibly unlikely to final result in a major NHL participant, but still approximately a 1 in 8 opportunity of turning out an NHLer.)

In incorporating Leighton, the Canucks do at last have a substitute for Richard Bachman, who tore an Achilles tendon in early December and is out extended expression. The moral below is not that signing Leighton is a poor factor, it’s that they could have ended up in the identical location, with two goalies in the AHL with NHL knowledge, but in a substantially less complicated procedure.

Drafted in 1999 by the Chicago Blackhawks, Leighton has performed 111 normal-season games with Chicago, Nashville, Philadelphia and Carolina. He assisted the Flyers get to the Stanley Cup final in 2010, profitable eight situations in 14 games that submit-season, including a trio of shutouts.

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