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Hurricanes Sign Goaltender Michael Leighton

Wednesday, 06.11.2008 / 9:12 AM / News
By Terrell Williams
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Hurricanes Sign Goaltender Michael Leighton

AHL’s goaltender of the year in 2008 will join Carolina on two-year, one-way contract

RALEIGH, NC—Ron Francis, Assistant General Manager and Director of Player Development for the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes, today announced that the team has signed goaltender Michael Leighton to a two-year contract. The deal will pay Leighton $600,000 per season in 2008-09 and 2009-10.

“Michael had an outstanding year with Albany last season, and also handled himself well during his time on the NHL level,” said Francis. “He has earned a role on our team going forward and we feel confident in our goaltending situation with him and Cam Ward between the pipes.”

Leighton, 27, completed his seventh season of professional hockey in 2007-08, spending most of the season with the Hurricanes’ top minor-league affiliate, the Albany River Rats of the American Hockey League (AHL). He appeared in three games with Carolina, registering a 1-1 record with a 2.66 goals-against average on the NHL level. Leighton (6’3’’, 186 lbs.) was 28-25-4 in 59 regular-season games for the River Rats, with a 2.10 goals-against average and seven shutouts. The Petrolia, Ont., native led the AHL in saves (1,634), save percentage (.931) and shutouts (7), and ranked second in the league in minutes played (3,451) and tied for second in goals-against average (2.10). He set Albany franchise regular-season and playoff records for shutouts, goals-against average and save percentage. At the conclusion of the AHL’s regular season, he was named the winner of the Aldege “Baz” Bastien Memorial Award as the AHL’s outstanding goaltender for the 2007-08 season, as voted by AHL coaches, players and media. He was also named a First-Team AHL All-Star.

Leighton was heroic during Albany’s seven-game Calder Cup playoff series against Philadelphia, stopping 304 of 314 shots (.968 save percentage) and posting a 1.18 goals-against average and two shutouts. He made an AHL-record 98 saves during Game 5 against the Phantoms, as the two teams played the longest game in league history, a 3-2 Philadelphia win in five overtimes. He then helped Albany rebound by stopping all 40 shots he faced in a 1-0 overtime victory in Game 6, before the River Rats finally succumbed to the Phantoms in a 2-0 Game 7 loss at Philadelphia.

A sixth-round draft choice of the Chicago Blackhawks (165th overall) in the 1999 NHL Entry Draft, Leighton has appeared in 50 career NHL games with Chicago, Nashville, Philadelphia and Carolina, earning an 11-24-10 record with a 3.01 goals-against average.

Leighton’s Albany Records
  • Became the first River Rats goalie to record back-to-back shutouts in consecutive team games.
     
  • Set the longest individual shutout streak in team history, 165:37, which was also a new Albany team record.  (The previous River Rats record, set by the 2004-05 team, was the combined effort of two goaltenders, while Leighton was the only goaltender in between the pipes for the new record achievement)
     
  • Became first River Rat to be named Rbk/AHL Player of the Week award since the 2004-05 season.
     
  • Helped Albany set a new single-season team record of nine shutouts in one year.
     
  • Named as the starting goaltender for the Canadian All-Star Team of the 2008 AHL All-Star Classic in Binghamton, NY.  First Albany goaltender to be named as an All-Star Game starter, and first goaltender participant since Peter Sidorkiewicz in 1997 All-Star Classic in St. John, New Brunswick.
     
  • Named to the AHL First All-Star Team, the first goaltender in River Rats history to do so, the sixth Albany player overall and the first Rats player since Ray Giroux in the 2002-03 season to be selected for the AHL First All-Star Team.
     
  • The winner of the Aldege "Baz" Bastien Memorial Award as the AHL's outstanding goaltender for the 2007-08 season, as voted by AHL coaches, players and members of the media.  The first goaltender in Albany’s 15-year history to win this award…his 4th AHL award of the 2007-08 season.

Single-Season Albany Franchise Records

Shutouts (7)                       

GAA (2.10)                       

Save % (0.931)                 

 

New Albany Single-Playoff Records        

Shutouts (2)                       

*Saves in 1 game (98)       

GAA (1.18)                    

Save PCT. (0.968)           

Most career playoff shutouts (2 - tied with Mike Dunham).

 

*NEW AHL RECORD

 

2007-08 Regular Season AHL Rankings

1st – Saves (1,634)

1st – Save Pct. (0.931)

1st – Shutouts (7)

2nd – Minutes (1,634)

T-2nd – GAA (2.10)

4th – Wins (28)

 

2008 Calder Cup Playoff Rankings

1st – Save Pct. (0.968)

1st. – GAA (1.18)

T-1st – Shutouts (2)

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 MTL 65 41 18 6 175 146 88
2 NYI 66 42 21 3 211 185 87
3 TBL 66 40 20 6 217 173 86
4 NYR 63 39 17 7 197 155 85
5 DET 62 36 15 11 182 160 83
6 PIT 63 36 18 9 182 158 81
7 WSH 66 35 21 10 194 164 80
8 BOS 63 31 22 10 168 165 72
9 FLA 65 28 23 14 159 185 70
10 PHI 65 28 25 12 173 187 68
11 OTT 62 28 23 11 176 167 67
12 NJD 64 27 27 10 144 165 64
13 TOR 65 26 34 5 175 199 57
14 CBJ 63 26 33 4 163 201 56
15 CAR 62 24 31 7 144 167 55
16 BUF 64 19 40 5 123 215 43

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Faulk 62 12 28 -18 40
E. Staal 57 18 20 -12 38
E. Lindholm 61 11 16 -18 27
J. Skinner 57 16 10 -17 26
N. Gerbe 58 7 16 -10 23
R. Nash 59 7 15 -10 22
V. Rask 60 8 12 -16 20
J. McClement 62 6 13 3 19
J. Staal 26 4 12 -4 16
A. Nestrasil 34 4 11 4 15
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 17 20 4 .911 2.43
A. Khudobin 7 11 3 .905 2.61