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.