The Philadelphia Flyers have sent goaltender Michael Leighton to their American Hockey League team, the Adirondack Phantoms, for a conditioning assignment.
After backstopping the Flyers to the Stanley Cup Final in June and then signing a new two-year contract June 30, was expected to enter the season as the Flyers' starting goaltender. However, back issues sidelined him for most of training camp, and then he had back surgery Oct. 11. He has not played this season.
In Leighton's absence, rookie Sergei Bobrovsky has seized the Flyers' crease, going 12-3-2 with a 2.19 goals-against average and .926 save percentage as the Flyers have resided near the top of the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference standings for most of the season.
Leighton can play up to three AHL games before the Flyers have to make a decision on activating him.
Leighton's arrival last December saved the Flyers' season, and earned him a new contract this summer. However, Bobrovsky's arrival has complicated things. The Flyers also have Brian Boucher on the roster as Bobrovsky's backup.
Carrying three goaltenders isn't ideal, but the Flyers did it at times last season, when Ray Emery, Leighton and Boucher were on the roster.