Originally written on Philly Sports World  |  Last updated 7/1/12

BOSTON - JANUARY 01: Michael Leighton #49 of the Philadelphia Flyers looks on before playing against the Boston Bruins during the 2010 Bridgestone Winter Classic at Fenway Park on January 1, 2010 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Boston Bruins defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 2-1 in overtime. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

The Philadelphia Flyers and goaltender Michael Leighton agreed to a 1 year, $900,000 contract today. It was the only official move that the Flyers made. Leighton will backup Ilya Bryzgalov in goal.

While the day is not over yet, it is, in effect.

The Flyers’ top targets in NHL Free Agency which opened today at noon are Winger Zach Parise and Defenseman Ryan Suter.  The Flyers have reportedly made very handsome offers to both players, rumored to be between 10-12 years for each. The problem is that there is a ton of competition for both players, and that is not only holding up the Flyers right now, but most of the NHL.  On a day that is usually one of the most wild of the year, Free Agency kicked off with a very distinct thud as much of the NHL awaited word on where the top two free agents would land.

Both Ryan Suter and Zach Parise have let it be known that they will not make a decision today.  So… the waiting continues. There wasn’t even much to talk about with the Flyers restricted free agents like Jake Voracek, or their UFAs like Matt Carle and Jaromir Jagr. The amount of money and years that the Flyers extended to Parise and Suter could drastically alter how the Flyers proceed if one or both of those offers are accepted.

So far, the only move that the Flyers have made is re-signing backup goaltender Michael Leighton to a 1-year, $900,000 deal.  Most felt the Flyers may go out and find a top notch backup since many were available, but instead the Flyers turned to a familiar face that was still within the organization.  Leighton has spent the bulk of the last two years with the Adirondack Phantoms.  Leighton was 28-26-1 this year in the AHL, with a 2.58 GAA and a .918 save percentage.  Leighton was also selected to the AHL All Star Game.

Many Flyers fans had mixed reactions to the news of Leighton’s re-signing.  Michael Leighton joined the Flyers off of waivers in the 2009-2010 season when Ray Emery went down.  Instead of being a scrap heap pick up, Leighton led the Flyers to the Stanley Cup Finals and created a rags to riches story for himself.  In the Stanley Cup Finals, however, Leighton let in soft goals, most notably the game 6 overtime winner from Patrick Kane that sealed the Cup for Chicago.  An injury at the start of the next season led the Flyers to use rookie Sergei Bobrovsky as their starter in the opening game of the season, and the rookie played well.  Later, Bob tired, and the Flyers went to goaltending carousel that featured Brian Boucher and even Leighton in the playoffs.  That method was obviously not effective which is why the Flyers went out and signed Ilya Bryzgalov last year. With Sergei Bobrovsky shipped off to Columbus last week, the Flyers needed someone who was willing to take on the role of backup.  Even though many though Paul Holmgren was joking when he suggested Michael Leighton to backup Ilya Bryzgalov, he obviously wasn’t.

Last year, the Flyers stunned the hockey world by signing Jaromir Jagr and Max Talbot on July 1st.  They also added veteran Andreas Lilja that day, and made the Ilya Bryzgalov signing official.  Today provided no such dramatics.  But that doesn’t mean there won’t be any.

Similar Posts:

  • Flyers Could Be In A Precarious Position with Free Agency
  • What’s Next For Flyers Goaltender Situation?
  • Flyers and Bryzgalov Have No Choice But To Make it Work
  • Bryz Not To Blame for Flyers Poor Play in Game 2
  • Chairman Ed Snider Hopeful for Flyers’ Future

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