Draft: Chicago 1999 (5-165-6)
First NHL Game: Jan. 8, 2003 in a 0-0 Chicago tie vs. Phoenix
First NHL Win: April 3, 2003 in a 6-4 Chicago win at St. Louis
First NHL Shutout: Jan. 8, 2003 in a 0-0 Chicago tie vs. Phoenix
Most Saves, Game: 46 (3/17/04; 3-2 CHI L vs. CAR)
Most Shots Faced, Game: 49 (3/17/04; 3-2 CHI L vs. CAR)
NHL Shootouts and penalty shots:
Shootout Stats: 1-1 (3 goals on 5 attempts)
Career Penalty Shots: 4 (2 goals on 4 attempts)
Michael and his wife, Jennifer, spend their summers in LaSalle, Ontario... They have a daughter, Ella (3), and are expecting their second child in November 2009... The Leightons have a dog named Zoey and are involved with the Windsor Humane Society... Michael’s first youth team was the Lambton Lightning, and the player he emulated growing up was Felix Potvin… His first job was getting up at 4 a.m. to work at a bakery… He also played basketball, soccer, volleyball and golf growing up… Michael’s favorite vacation spot is Mexico, favorite movie is Superbad, favorite television show is The King of Queens and favorite video game is EA Sports NHL 09… The most-played artist on his iPod is Linkin Park… His most memorable win was a Game 7, double-overtime victory against Sarnia in junior hockey… He chose number 49 because he was number 29 in junior and someone else was wearing 29 during his first year pro in Norfolk… His favorite food is steak, favorite Web site is hockeyfights.com and favorite magazine is Goalies’ World… Michael’s all-time favorite teammate not currently with the Hurricanes is Jocelyn Thibault… His favorite thing about playing pro hockey is “all the naps” and his favorite athlete outside of hockey is MMA fighter Georges St. Pierre… He says he would like to either stay in hockey after he retires or become a fireman… Michael cites Montreal as his favorite road city and the Bell Centre as his favorite road arena.
Completed his fifth NHL season and second with Carolina... Matched his career high for wins in a season (6)... Served as backup to Cam Ward and did not play in 63 games... Stopped one of two penalty shots, and has allowed two goals on four career penalty shots... Was 1-1 (3 goals on 5 shots) in the shootout... Had not been in an NHL shootout prior to this season... Made the start in the final game of the regular season, stopping 32 of 35 shots at NJ (4/11)... It was his first start since 2/5... Relieved Cam Ward at the 10:13 mark of the second period and stopped 11 of 12 shots, allowing only a penalty shot goal to Derek Roy vs. BUF (4/9)... Replaced Ward at the start of the second period and stopped 12 of 13 shots at OTT (2/24)... Earned his first NHL shootout victory, stopping 37 of 40 shots in regulation and overtime and two of three shots in the shootout in a 4-3 shootout win at SJ (2/5)... Stopped 32 shots in a 6-5 shootout loss at PHI (12/11)... Made 38 saves, including a stop on an Alex Ovechkin penalty shot, in a 3-1 win vs. WSH (12/7)... Stopped 29 of 31 shots in a 2-1 overtime loss vs. PHI (12/6)... Made 22 saves and was named the game’s third star vs. OTT (11/7)... Stopped 29 of 33 shots in a 6-4 win vs. TOR (11/2)... Stopped 32 of 33 shots and was named first star at ANA (10/19)... Made his season debut at TB (10/11), stopping 26 of 29 shots in a 4-3 overtime win.
Served as backup and did not play for 18 games (4/15-5/26) during the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Is in his sixth NHL season and third with the Hurricanes… Signed a two-year contract with the Hurricanes on June 11, 2008… Was originally acquired by Carolina on June 23, 2007, in exchange for the Hurricanes’ seventh-round selection in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft (Scott Kishel)… Entering 2008-09, had appeared in 50 NHL games with Chicago, Nashville, Philadelphia and Carolina, earning a record of 11-24-10 with a 3.01 goals-against average and three shutouts
1998-01: Played three seasons with the Windsor Spitfires of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL), appearing in 124 games while posting a 53-47-9 record with three shutouts and a 3.29 goals-against average
2001-02: Made his professional debut, spending the entire season with the Norfolk Admirals of the American Hockey League (AHL)... Went 27-16-8 with a 2.14 goals-against average, a .920 save percentage and six shutouts, earning AHL All-Rookie Team honors... Earned his first professional shutout by stopping 25 shots in a 3-0 win at Albany (10/17)... Named AHL Goaltender of the Month for October... Recalled by Chicago on 11/4 and dressed but did not play for four games during his first NHL recall... Selected to the 2002 AHL All-Star Game and made nine saves to earn the victory for the Canadian squad... Named AHL Rookie of the Month for March... Was 1-2 in four playoff games with a 2.02 goals-against average and a .927 save percentage
2002-03: Began the season with Norfolk before being recalled by Chicago on 1/1... Played 36 games for Norfolk with a record of 18-13-5, four shutouts, a 2.50 goals-against average and .912 save percentage... In eight games with the Blackhawks, he posted a 2-3-2 record, one shutout, a 2.82 goals-against average and a .913 save percentage... Made his NHL debut vs. PHX (1/8), earning his first career shutout in a 0-0 tie... Was the first goaltender in Blackhawks history, and the 21st goaltender in the modern era of the NHL (since 1943-44) to record a shutout in his NHL debut... Earned his first NHL win at STL (4/3/03)... Returned to the AHL for the playoffs, posting a 3-1 record with one shutout and a 1.75 goals-against average
2003-04: Was one of a Blackhawks team-record six goaltenders to mind the net during the season... Led Chicago goaltenders with 34 games played... Began the season with Chicago and appeared in 25 games before he was reassigned to Norfolk 1/15... Was named the NHL Defensive Player of the Week for the week of 12/22-12/28 after notching a 2-1-0 record, two shutouts (3-0 vs. STL; 3-0 vs. DET), a 1.00 goals-against average and a .960 save percentage... Recorded his first NHL assist vs. DAL (12/14/03)... Faced his first career penalty shot vs. COL (1/11), and was scored on by Milan Hejduk... Made a save on his second career penalty shot, stopping Alex Zhamnov at PHI (2/24)
2004-05: Appeared in 41 games for Norfolk, going 20-16-3... Set an Admirals team record with his seventh shutout of the season vs. WIlkes-Barre/Scranton (3/11)... Was ejected from Norfolk’s game vs. Lowell (12/11) for fighing with Lowell goaltender Cam Ward... Missed 10 games due to injury (3/27-4/17)
2005-06: Traded by Chicago to Buffalo on 10/4 in exchange for Milan Bartovic... Spent the entire season with the Sabres’ AHL affiliate in Rochester, posting a record of 15-22-1 with a 3.21 goals-against average and 2 shutouts
2006-07: Appeared in five NHL games with Nashville and Philadelphia and had a record of 2-2-0 with a goals-against average of 3.94… Played in 21 AHL games with Portland and Philadelphia, earning a record of 10-6-3 with a goals-against average of 2.14 and two shutouts... Began the season with Anaheim’s AHL affiliate in Portland after signing as a free agent with the Ducks during the off-season… Was acquired off waivers by Nashville on Nov. 27, and played 19 minutes of the Predators’ 7-2 loss vs. BUF (12/21)… Was claimed on waivers by Philadelphia on Jan. 11, and made his Flyers debut vs. STL (2/10), stopping 25 shots in a 4-3 overtime win… Was acquired on waivers by Montreal on Feb. 27, but completed the season without appearing in a game for the Canadiens.
2007-08: 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 members of the media... Led the AHL in saves (1,634), save percentage (.931) and shutouts (7)... Ranked second in the league in minutes played (3,451) and tied for second in goals-against average (2.10)... Set Albany franchise regular-season and playoff records for shutouts, goals-against average and save percentage... Also set the River Rats franchise record for longest shutout streak (165:37)... Was selected as a 2007-08 First Team AHL All-Star, becoming the first Albany goaltender and sixth River Rats player to receive the honor... Played in three games with Carolina during his only NHL stint from 1/4-1/31... Started the game and stopped 20 of 23 shots in two periods of play at TOR (1/15)... Started his second consecutive game but suffered the 1-0 loss at STL (1/5)... Made his first NHL start of the season and played his first game with the Hurricanes, earning the win with 23 saves at ATL (1/4)... Named Rbk/AHL Player of the Week for period ending on 10/28 after winning all three starts, including two shutouts, and posting a 0.67 GAA and 0.977 save percentage... His shutout at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (3/21) marked his 29th career AHL shutout, moving him past Jason LaBarbera for sixth on the AHL all-time shutouts list... Named as the starting goaltender for the Canadian All-Stars for the 2008 AHL All-Star Classic in Binghamton, NY... Stopped 304 of 314 shots during Albany’s seven-game series loss to Philadelphia in the first round of the Calder Cup Playoffs... Led the AHL in goals-against average (1.18) and save percentage (.968) and was tied for the league lead in shutouts (2) for the playoffs... Earned his fourth career AHL playoff shutout by stopping 39 shots in a 4-0 Albany victory in Game 1 vs. the Phantoms (4/16)... Made an AHL-record 98 saves during Game 5 against the Phantoms (4/24), as the two teams played the longest game in league history, a 3-2 Philadelphia win in five overtimes... Stopped all 40 shots he faced in Game 6 vs. Philadelphia (4/26), a 1-0 overtime victory to force a seventh game.