Michael Leighton propelled the unlikely Philadelphia Flyers to a storybook playoff run– one which fell just two victories short of hoisting Lord Stanley’s Cup.
So going into the fantasy season, how would you assess Leighton?
Before this season the 29-year-old goalkeeper never could hold a starting gig even though he received numerous chances. With Chicago, Leighton and Craig Anderson failed to show their potential after incumbent starter Jocelyn Thibault vacated his spot between the pipes. Both of the kids finished tied for the lead in wins that year with six.
Leighton then bounced from numerous AHL franchises and made stops in Philadelphia, Nashville and the Carolina Hurricanes before coming back to Philly. The results were not pretty, cue the stats…
He even received the chance to start for the cellar dwelling Hurricanes but failed to outperform an aged Manny Legace.
According to Cap Geek, he is an impending free agent, and may be the best available goaltender in the market. He definitely played more consistently than Evgeni Nabokov in the playoffs while the rest represent netminders on non-contenders.
Will Paul Holmgren re-sign his diamond in the rough? This answer I simply do not have. His team definitely played better in front of him than they did with Ray Emery or Brian Boucher. The team also made it to the Stanley Cup with the unlikely tandem of Boucher and Leighton.
While Leighton remains a Flyer he will hold a lot of fantasy value. Most of Philadelphia’s core should return ensuring him a decent supporting cast. If he signs elsewhere, run for the hills.
He never showed the ability to carry a poor team, which although they struggled mightily during the regular season the Flyers were not. Any defense lacking Chris Pronger will be a downgrade for the Ontario native.
To summarize, I believe in Leighton while he is a Flyer. If he leaves for more money all bets are off.