Vancouver Canucks Sign Michael Leighton

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NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 03: Michael Leighton #32 of the Carolina Hurricanes tends net against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on December 3, 2016 in New York City. The Rangers defeated the Hurricanes 4-2. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The Vancouver Canucks have signed goaltender Michael Leighton to a one-year, two-way contract.

Canucks general manager Jim Benning announced the signing Tuesday morning.

Michael Leighton Signed to Bolster Comets

Leighton was placed on waivers and designated for assignment to the Utica Comets, the Canucks’ American Hockey League affiliate.

He was signed by Vancouver to a professional tryout offer in January, The Province newspaper reported.

The 37-year-old goaltender has played three games in the 2018-19 AHL season with the Ontario Reign. He posted an .859 save percentage and a 1-1 win-loss record with Ontario.

In Utica, Leighton recorded a .915 save percentage and a 6-1 record in seven games.

Leighton will suit up alongside Comets starter Ivan Kulbakov in his latest AHL stint.

The Petrolia, Ontario native was drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks in 1999. He is a four-time AHL All-Star and earned a spot on the NHL All-Rookie squad in 2001-02.

In 2007-08, Leighton received the Aldege “Baz” Bastien Memorial Award for being the AHL’s most outstanding goaltender.

Leighton holds the AHL records for the most saves in a playoff game with 98 and the lowest goals-against average in a single season with 1.18, which he set in 2008.

In the NHL, Leighton has played 111 regular-season games with the Blackhawks, Nashville Predators, Philadelphia Flyers and Carolina Hurricanes. He has a 2.98 goals-against average, .900 save percentage and a 37-43-10 record.

He made the Stanley Cup Final with the Flyers in 2010, going 8-3 with three shutouts in 14 games.

In 341 career AHL games, Leighton boasts a 2.37 goals-against average, .917 save percentage and a record of 242-177-49.

He’s the all-time AHL shutout leader with 50 and fifth in all-time wins with 242.

Future Implications

The Canucks have two netminders, Jacob Markstrom and Marek Mazanec, on NHL contracts, according to CapFriendly.

The Comets had looked for another goalie with NHL experience after Thatcher Demko‘s recent call-up to the big club and Mike McKenna leaving on waivers for Philadelphia in January.

He has plenty of NHL experience and an AHL pedigree. Leighton would be a good option as a backup if an injury happens.

Last month, Benning wouldn’t say if Leighton would see any action in Vancouver if the tryout goes well.

“We’ll see how it goes,” (Benning said in a piece published Jan. 19 by The Province).

The Canucks (26-27-7) are a point away from the second Western Conference wild-card spot. They’re also 11th in the West, fourth in the Pacific Division and 22nd in the NHL.

The Canucks have gone 3-6-1 in their last 10 games, and if they want to make the playoffs for the first time since 2015, they’ll need lots of depth in net and on the back end.

NEW YORK, NY – DECEMBER 03: Michael Leighton #32 of the Carolina Hurricanes tends net against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on December 3, 2016 in New York City. The Rangers defeated the Hurricanes 4-2. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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