Blackhawks Sign Michael Leighton

On Monday morning, the Blackhawks announced the team has signed goaltender Michael Leighton to a one-year, two-way contract. He will likely start the year in Rockford.

Last season, Leighton posted a .933 save percentage in 42 games with Donbass in the KHL. He last appeared in the NHL with the Flyers in 2012-13.

Leighton, 33, was originally drafted by the Blackhawks in the sixth round (165th overall) of the 1999 NHL Entry Draft. He was the starting netminder for the Flyers during the 2010 Stanley Cup Final, losing the series to the Hawks.

Leighton and Scott Darling have both signed contracts with the Blackhawks this summer, a strong indication that the organization wasn’t happy with the play between the pipes in Rockford last year.

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21 Responses to Blackhawks Sign Michael Leighton

  1. SouthSideHawkMan says:

    Leighton is the perfect 3rd option for the organization. He’s young has NHL experience and something to prove. However, lets hope we dont see him in a Hawks sweater anytime soon because Crow and Raanta are better options.

  2. Tab Bamford says:

    “Leighton is the perfect 3rd option for the organization. He’s young” STOP IT RIGHT HERE. Leighton’s 33 and was drafted by the Blackhawks in 1999 – the summer before Teuvo Teravainen’s FIFTH BIRTHDAY. You may have confused Leighton with 25-year-old Scott Darling, who is young(er) and has something to prove on a two-way deal.

  3. Cuz27 says:

    Tab- Will we be seeing both Simpson and Carruth in Indy with this signing?

  4. HockeyJunkie says:

    I wonder if Leighton was signed to allow Raanta to have more ice time at Rockford this year?

    Not a Leighton fan… unless he has had lasik surgery to correct his vision problems.

    Patrick Kanes game winning goal in 2010 looked like a simple (very stoppable) shot that just went right past Leighton and it scares me to think he may see (or not) ice time in Chicago!

  5. Jax says:

    Big, fat, no!

  6. Tab Bamford says:

    re: Raanta in Rockford – no. Not at all.

    Leighton is nothing more than organizational depth. Remember Jason Lebarbara last year? Same thing, except Scott Darling will be the starter in Rockford. Which leads to the answer to Cuz27′s question – yes, there will be a good fight to get on the IceHogs roster this year.

  7. Steve Commisso says:

    Nothing to get all worked over. Good decision kind of like LaBarbera last year as Tab says. You never know sometimes how things work out with the injuries and good to have someone around who knows the NHL. (His great moment in NHL history is looking for the puck in that 2010 Cup clincher by the Kaner! which overshadowed the three shutouts against the Habs in the playoffs) Nice guy with some good runs but consistent? Dont think so.

  8. HawksNation4All says:

    The Rockford Goaltending was brutal last year (0.893 SV% – 3.35 GAA), especially Kent Simpson (0.891 SV% – 3.64 GAA) who played 30+ games – basically splitting the year with LaBarbera, who was able to bring some veteran stability between the pipes, which is what Michael Leighton was also brought in for.

  9. EspoForever says:

    At least for Leighton he is not back in Donbass, tho I doubt they are playing hockey there this year. (It’s in eastern Ukraine)

  10. Sr. Brad says:

    LaBarbera was key to the Hogs success last year…with him, we were on pace to make the playoffs until the top end was gutted.

    As for Leighton, its a stop gap measure at best…he never was a good goalie and likely won’t be now…but it sends a message to Simpson and Carruth that their careers are ON THE LINE. It also sends a message to Darling that he had better play like he did last year and continue to get better. Competition makes any team better, and now we are able to apply this concept to Rockford, which will make them better.

    Not a great move, but I understand it.

  11. SouthSideHawkMan says:

    C’mon Tab 33 isnt old for an NHL goalie or specifically for a 3rd string goalie. I know exactly who Leighton is. I am not a Johnny come lately Hawks fan.

    Khabby was 41 and on the NHL roster Leighton is 33 and will be starting for the Hogs so,lets use some prespective. This is a perfect depth move/insurance policy.

  12. wall says:

    Carruth and Simpson have been terrible so far…

    Darling’s job to lose… hope he can continue to put up good #’s in AHL- and then has a shot as NHL backup for injury… or more!!!

    At Prospect Camp Tompkins was best of the worst- way better than Carruth/Simpson/Russian kid.

    so good signing (even though pretty meaningless on the surface- unless a few guys go down)

  13. MS says:

    While this move is cheap insurance against significant injuries at the NHL level I also think it is a statement that Hawks will support a certain playoff team in Rockford with much better goaltending than they got last year. As others have said this doesn’t bode well for Simpson and Carruth.

  14. Scottie P says:

    Simpson is terrible

  15. Mike says:

    With his signing how many contracts do the Hawks have?? They are allowed 50??

  16. Icehogst says:

    Any move that gets the Hogs playoff experience is a good move. Without this experience, prospect development will stall. The progression has to be competency during AHL regular season, AHL playoffs, NHL regular season, and then the buzz saw of NHL playoffs. Hogs also must start the regular season strong….past slow, uninspired starts became too much to overcome. Ted Dent’s ability to motivate has to be questioned, maybe Mark Osiecki can be the inspirational leader the team needs. The team captain will be key to this attitudinal shift, too. The Jimmy Hayes/Brandon Pirri/ Jeremy Morin/ Dylan Olsen/ Kyle Beach state of dissatisfaction had to be poison to the rest of the team. The boys have a clean slate now. Hope this all translates in to a deep playoff run which will ultimately make the Hawks a better team.

  17. Sr. Brad says:

    Simpson isn’t terrible…his INCONSISTENCY is terrible. He is Jeckyll and Hyde. He can put up absolute stunning games and then stink for a week. I am sure the Hawks have told him that he has this season to become consistent or he will be gone.

  18. AJ says:

    Gives them an option of raanta is sick and they can move him for futures OR package deal with someone else for roster player if injury bug hits.

    Fine deal, serviceable back up or depth signing. Crawford is the guy long term anyway.

  19. Craig nigrelli says:

    He’s an NHL backup for sure. You only have to remember back to simpson’s NHL debut on hockey night in Canada. The first shot he faced went right through his legs. I felt horrible for the kid but the point being, the hawks were only a groin pull or two away from that being their guy. At least now if crawford were to get hurt there is NHL playoff experience in the system and at Rockford winning can only be a positive, if that’s what leighton brings.

  20. SouthSideHawkMan says:

    Its a shame Brandon Whitney got a serious injury because the Hawks minor league goaltending isnt worth discussing. I would imagine the Hawks keep adding players until they find their guy.

    Tomkins really is the best of the group in my opinion. Maybe darling can do something too.

  21. Mike says:

    Rangers sign Hayes……

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