Leighton must clear re-entry waivers to be able to re-join Philadelphia, the team he helped lead to the Stanley Cup Final last season.
If Leighton clears waivers, he would be eligible to play for Philadelphia in the postseason; but he would be ineligible for playoff participation if claimed by another team. Also, if claimed, the Flyers would be responsible for half of Leighton's salary for this season and next. He reportedly is due $1.6 million next season, the final season of the two-year deal he signed this past summer.
After his magical run with Philadelphia last season, Leighton injured his back in the offseason and needed surgery in September. By the time he was healthy enough to play in December, Sergei Bobrovsky had emerged as a star. In Leighton's one NHL game this season, he allowed four goals on 36 shots in a 7-4 victory against the Los Angeles Kings on Dec. 30. On Jan. 3, he was placed on waivers, and after going unclaimed, he was assigned to the AHL the next day.
In 30 AHL games, Leighton went 14-12-3, but his 2.22 goals-against average, 926 save percentage and five shutouts all ranked in the top six in the league.
Leighton's arrival on waivers from Carolina in December 2009 started a run that saved Philadelphia's season. With starter Ray Emery out with an injury, he replaced an injured Brian Boucher on Dec. 21 in Florida. At the time the Flyers were 14th in the Eastern Conference, but Leighton went 8-0-1 in his first 10 starts, and went 16-5-2 with a 2.48 goals-against average and .918 save percentage in 27 games to help the Flyers fly up the standings.
He suffered a sprained ankle against Nashville on March 16, but returned in time for Game 5 of the Flyers' conference semifinal series against the Boston Bruins. In his first appearance since getting hurt, he replaced an injured Boucher and stopped all 14 shots he faced to complete a 4-0 shutout. It was the first combined shutout in a playoff game since 1955.
Leighton backstopped the Flyers into the conference finals, where he shut out the Montreal Canadiens three times in the first four games to help the Flyers win their first conference title since 1997.
In the Stanley Cup Final, however, Leighton was not as sharp; pulled during Games 1 and 5 as the Blackhawks won their first Stanley Cup in 49 years.
Contact Adam Kimelman at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK