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Flyers Claim Goaltender Michael Leighton from Nashville

by Staff Writer / Philadelphia Flyers
(January 11) - The Philadelphia Flyers announced that they have claimed 6'3", 190-pound goaltender Michael Leighton on waivers from the Nashville Predators, according to General Manager Paul Holmgren.

"I think more than anything Michael is an insurance policy for us," said Holmgren in making the announcement. "We think that he is a good, young goalie. At times this year, we have run the risk of either Antero (Niittymaki) or Robert (Esche) being injured and then having to put a young goalie who, in our opinion, is clearly not ready for the NHL at this point in time into a game. Michael gives us insurance so that we won't expose ourselves like that. He will report to the Flyers, so we will have three goaltenders."

"I am definitely excited," said Leighton. "I am coming from Nashville where it wasn't a very good situation for me. I am coming to team where I will get a chance to play if there are injuries. I am happy to be in the NHL. Philadelphia is a great organization and I'm happy to be here.

"I think right now, with three goalies, I just have to work hard in practice and gain some confidence and trust from the coaches. I just want to work hard and hopefully get in some games and try to prove myself."

Leighton, 25, appeared in one game with the Predators this season, allowing two goals in 20 minutes played. He was claimed by Nashville on waivers from the Anaheim Ducks on November 27, 2006. He registered an 8-6-1 record, two shutouts, a 2.31 goals-against average and .910 save percentage in 16 games for the Ducks' American Hockey League affiliate, the Portland Pirates, this season. He was signed as a free agent by the Ducks on July 13, 2006.

In parts of three NHL seasons with Chicago (2002-03 and 2003-04) and Nashville (2006-07), Leighton has compiled an 8-21-14 record, three shutouts, a 2.98 GAA and .901 save percentage in 43 regular season games. Last season, he posted a 15-22-1 record, 3.21 GAA and two shutouts in 40 regular season games for the Buffalo Sabres' AHL affiliate, the Rochester Americans. He was acquired by the Sabres from the Blackhawks in exchange for Milan Bartovic on October 4, 2005.

He was originally drafted by Chicago in the sixth round (165th overall) of the 1999 NHL Entry Draft.
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