One of the most discouraging parts of Michael DiPietro having lit up in his initially NHL start out is how avoidable it was. In the second, the Canucks experienced no other choice — Thatcher Demko was currently out with a knee sprain when Jacob Markstrom seasoned what the Canucks identified as “lower overall body tightness” in the morning skate.
Primary up to that second, nevertheless, the Canucks experienced loads of time to deal with their absence of goaltending depth: 6 months following Richard Bachman suffered an achilles tear five months following the Canucks traded Anders Nilsson and saw Mike McKenna get claimed off waivers by the Philadelphia Flyers and one particular 7 days following Demko received wounded.
If, for some purpose, that doesn’t seem to be like ample time, take into account that it took considerably less than a working day following DiPietro’s debut for the Canucks to discover a goaltender, sending a 7th-spherical choose to the New York Rangers for Marek Mazanec.
One of the solutions offered to the Canucks was to indication Michael Leighton, the 37-yr-outdated goaltender that experienced considered retirement just before signing a Expert Tryout agreement with the Utica Comets. Leighton has experienced a solid seven games with the Comets, submitting a .915 help save proportion with a 6-1- file. He’s presented some steadiness in the crease that has been lacking since Demko received identified as up to the Canucks, as Ivan Kulbakov has struggled as a starter.
The Canucks could have signed Leighton when Demko received wounded — he experienced just occur up with a 40-help save functionality against the Springfield Thunderbirds — or waited right until he experienced confirmed himself a small additional with his wins in back-to-back games on February 8th and 9th. In that time, they would have observed DiPietro in exercise and should have been able to occur to the conclusion that he wasn’t prepared for NHL motion and occur up with an alternate approach.
As an alternative, the Canucks signed Leighton on Tuesday, a 7 days following the disastrous 7-2 decline to the Sharks. It is a one particular-yr, two-way deal, with no phrase nonetheless on the wage at both the NHL or AHL amount.
Let us be crystal clear: there’s nothing at all completely wrong with signing Leighton, who has been a boon to the Comets and gives some depth for the Canucks in scenario they confront another sequence of accidents. What is odd is the timing, signing Leighton following currently spending an asset to get Mazanec, and in the midst of a long crack for the Canucks that appears to be very likely to allow for both equally Markstrom and Demko to rest up and get healthful for the extend generate.
Markstrom has started a few straight games for the Canucks since lacking the match against the Sharks, although Demko is back skating and, by all accounts, should be back at exercise just before much too long.
It is tempting to go through into this signing and imagine that Markstrom and/or Demko’s accidents are additional severe than to begin with advised, but it appears to be to be what it seems on the area: Leighton is goaltending depth for the Canucks and will start out in Utica.
Leighton has been positioned on waivers for assignment to the Comets. Barring a claim — as the McKenna circumstance produced crystal clear, you can not rule that out — Leighton will join the Comets and will continue to be there for the rest of the year if Markstrom and Demko continue to be healthful.
Eventually, it’s good for the Canucks to have healthful goaltending depth. It is just much too terrible that the Canucks could not be additional proactive about buying it just before forcing DiPietro into motion.