Leighton during his time with the Flyers in 2010
May 19, 1981|
Petrolia, ON, CAN
|Height||6 ft 3 in (191 cm)|
|Weight||186 lb (84 kg; 13 st 4 lb)|
|NHL team (P)|
Rockford IceHogs (AHL)
165th overall, 1999|
He was drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks with the 165th overall pick in the 1999 NHL Entry draft.
He started his NHL career with the Blackhawks and during that time he became the first Blackhawks player to record a shutout in his debut. He competed with Craig Anderson for back-up duties and never really got to spend a complete season in the NHL during his time with Chicago.
On October 4, 2005, he was traded to the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for Milan Bartovic. He didn't appear in a game with the Sabres however and played the season with their AHL affiliate, the Rochester Americans. The Sabres didn't tender him a qualifying offer in the off-season which made him an unrestricted free agent.
On July 13, 2006, he signed as a free agent with the Anaheim Ducks. He played for the Ducks' farm team, the Portland Pirates. The Ducks called Leighton up when both their goalies Ilya Bryzgalov and Jean-Sébastien Giguère got injured but Leighton was claimed off waivers by the Nashville Predators before he could play. He only played 20 minutes of one game with the Predators and he was placed on waivers again.
On January 11, 2007, he was claimed by the Philadelphia Flyers. After playing 4 games with the Flyers, he was placed on waivers and picked up by the Montreal Canadiens but didn't play a game with them because he had already finished the season.
He first played for their farm team, the Albany River Rats but was called up to the NHL when John Grahame got sent down after he got placed on waivers. Leighton played 3 games and was sent back down to the River Rats. During his time with the River Rats he set an AHL record by making 98 saves on 101 shots, in a playoff game that went to 5 overtimes which was also an AHL record.
He played as the Hurricanes' backup goaltender, behind Cam Ward, during the 2008–09 NHL season. He played 19 regular season games but he didn't play in the playoffs, when the team advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals. Ward suffered a leg injury in November 2009 and missed a month of play. The Hurricanes signed goaltender Manny Legace, who became the backup when Ward returned.
On December 15, 2009, Leighton was brought back to the Flyers when they claimed him off waivers to back up Brian Boucher while Ray Emery recovered from injury. On December 21, Leighton was given a starting role when Boucher suffered an injury. On January 1, 2010, he started in goal for the Flyers for the 2010 Winter Classic. During a playoff game against the Boston Bruins, Leighton stepped in for an injured Boucher to play in his first ever NHL playoff game where he helped keep Boucher's shutout in a 4-0 win. During the 2010 Eastern Conference Finals against the Montreal Canadiens, he only let in 7 goals in five games and recorded 3 shutouts as the Flyers advanced to the Stanley Cup Finals to face the Chicago Blackhawks. Leighton started all six games of the Finals but struggled where he recorded a goals against average of 3.96 and a save percentage of 0.876. Leighton was the losing goalie in game 6 when the Blackhawks defeated the Flyers four games to two which ending with an overtime goal by Patrick Kane.
On June 30, 2010, he re-signed with the Flyers with a two-year deal. On January 3, 2011, the Flyer placed Leighton on waivers. He cleared waivers the next day and was assigned to the Adirondack Phantoms. He rejoined the Flyers three months later after he cleared re-entry waivers.
On July 1, 2012, he re-signed with the Flyers with a one-year contract and was announced as Ilya Bryzgalov's backup. He only played one game for the Flyers during the 2012–13 season and was traded along with a 2015 third-round draft pick to the Columbus Blue Jackets for Steve Mason.
- Hockey’s Book of Firsts, p.19, James Duplacey, JG Press, ISBN 978-1-57215-037-9
- "Qualifying Offers Extended". Buffalo Sabres. Retrieved 2013-06-26.
- "Ducks Sign Goaltender Michael Leighton". Anaheim Ducks. Retrieved 2013-06-26.
- "Preds acquire Leighton on waivers". Nashville Predators. Retrieved 2013-06-26.
- "Flyers Claim Goaltender Michael Leighton from Nashville". Philadelphia Flyers. Retrieved 2013-06-26.
- "Habs claim goalie Leighton off waivers from Flyers". Montreal Canadiens. Retrieved 2013-06-26.
- "Hurricanes Acquire Goaltender Michael Leighton". Carolina Hurricanes. Retrieved 2013-06-26.
- "Flyers Claim Goaltender Leighton". Philadelphia Flyers. Retrieved 2013-06-26.
- "Unheralded Leighton Earns Winter Classic Start". Philadelphia Flyers. Retrieved 2013-06-26.
- "Flyers, Leighton agree to two-year contract". Philadelphia Flyers. Retrieved 2013-06-26.
- "Flyers Waive Leighton". Philadelphia Flyers. Retrieved 2013-06-26.
- "Flyers acquire Steve Mason from Columbus; Adam Hall from Tampa Bay". Philadelphia Flyers. Retrieved 2013-06-26.
- Michael Leighton player profile at NHL.com
- Michael Leighton career statistics at The Internet Hockey Database