On Monday, we looked at the most likely replacements for the backup goalie position should Marty Biron not be retained. The first batch of options were the most likely names to get at least a look from the Rangers front office, but this time around, I wanted to look at some of the unconventional choices for the role. All of these tenders would likely come cheap on short term contracts, always a plus for a role player. As before, all stats are weighted, two-year composites of the major rate stats.
Without further adieu, my long shots…
Stat line: (All stats from Adirondack of the AHL) 86 GP, GAA 2.45, SV% .920
You might remember Michael Leighton from the 2009-2010 playoffs, backstopping the Philadelphia Flyers’ to the Stanley Cup Finals. (Also, I found it awesome, because Philly made Boston understand what we Yankee fans felt back in ’04). Outside of that season, where he was thrust into that role due to injuries, he has played the role of journeyman. He continued this trend of no respect when he resigned with Philadelphia after that Finals run and found himself in the AHL behind Brian Boucher and Sergei Bobrovsky (really?). He was again squeezed out this year with the arrival of Ilya Bryzgalov.
Leighton is a UFA this off-season, and while I still prefer Marty, he is an interesting dark horse for me. I think from a scouting perspective, the 31 year old backstop has the skill set to be a quality second string keeper and I’m sure all it would take is a promise of an NHL job to secure his services.
Like most backups Leighton is fairly solid in all aspects of his game, with no skill really standing out. Not that he would need the playoff experience playing behind Hank, but it’s always nice to know that he can get hot for an extended period like he did in 2010. Obviously, Leighton replacing Biron is a long shot, but one of the better possible gambles on the cheap.
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When I get bored, I like to research how specific players came to the Rangers organization. One of the first ones I researched was how Matthew Barnaby’s acquisition led to Brandon Dubinsky becoming a Ranger. Another I did was how Vladamir Malakhov’s signing led to Marc Staal becoming a Ranger. Now in some more research, feast your eyes on how Tim Erixon became a Ranger:
- 2004: New York Rangers draft Al Montoya with the sixth overall pick.
- 2/26/2008: Rangers trade Montoya and Marcel Hossa to the Phoenix Coyotes for Frederick Sjostrom, John Gratton, David LeNeveu, and a conditional fifth round pick. The conditions of the pick were that LeNeveu did not re-sign with the Rangers (he did not) and that Montoya played at least 15 games with the Coyotes (he did).
- As a result of these conditions being met, the Rangers were award the fifth round pick in 2009, which they used on Roman Horak.
- 6/1/11: Rangers deal Roman Horak, and two second round picks to the Calgary Flames for Tim Erixon and a fifth round pick (Shane McColgan).
Your mind has been blown. Stop hating on drafting Montoya already.
The pre-deadline trading got off to a furious start yesterday, with the Francois Beauchemin trade to Anaheim for Joffrey Lupul and Jake Gardiner. A few other deals went down, and both involved former Ranger first round picks. First, the much maligned Hugh Jessiman (2003, 1st round) was traded with Jack Skille and David Pacan from Chicago to Florida for Michael Frolik and Alexander Salak. Next, Al Montoya was traded from Phoenix to the Islanders (HAH!) for a 6th round pick.
Both were former first round picks, and these trades show just how far they have fallen. Jessiman was traded by the Rangers for “future considerations”, which amounted to nothing. Now, he is a throw in for Frolik. Montoya was the famed 6th overall pick out of Michigan in 2004, and was essentially a throw in when the Rangers traded him to Phoenix (with Marcel Hossa) for Fredrik Sjostrom, Josh Gratton, and David LeNeveu. Now, the 6th overall pick is being dealt for a 6th round pick.
People are really going to get on Sather for those picks, and for good reason. Hindsight is always 20/20. But for what it’s worth, Montoya was a much needed draft pick in net, as the Rangers had no idea what Lundqvist was going to be, and wouldn’t know until all the NHL players decided to play in Sweden during the lockout. As for Jessiman, it was tough to argue with the pick at the time (maybe he was drafted a bit too high, but he was slotted to go in the 1st round), but wow, what an epic bust.