Flyers try to fill gaps; Leighton signed

Michael Leighton has re-signed with the Flyers after being named an AHL All Star last season. (Yong Kim/Staff file photo)

The Flyers will try to fill gaps via free agency and the trade market on Sunday. I will be blogging updates throughout the day.

Defenseman Justin Schultz has already signed with Edmonton to start the free-agent frenzy.

Zach Parise and Ryan Suter are the top FAs on the market.

By 12:45 p.m. -- 45 minutes after the free-agent period started -- the Flyers had made offers to Parise, Suter and Matt Carle, according to an NHL source.

Since the lockout, an average of $320 million has been handed out on July 1 in the FA market.

Gentlemen, open your checkbooks.

* * *

Leighton returns. The Flyers started things by signing goalie Michael Leighton -- the goat of the 2010 Finals -- to a one-year, one-way deal for a reported $900,000.

Re-signing Leighton is a little like the Phillies re-signing closer Mitch Williams two years after allowing the game-winning homer to Joe Carter in the World Series. Leighton, of course, allowed one of the worst GW goals in Stanely Cup Finals history (Chicago's Patrick Kane, 2010, as if you didn't remember).

In a conference call with reporters on Sunday, Leighton said the Kane goal "will be on my mind the rest of my life" but that he has learned from it and moved on

The Flyers needed a backup goalie because they dealt Sergei Bobrovsky to Columbus last week.

To be fair, Leighton performed extremely well two seasons ago -- until he folded in the Finals.

“I'm very happy to be back in Philly,” Leighton said.  “This is where I want to be and I'm excited about the team we have this year. I look forward to the opportunity to continue working with Jeff Reese,” the Flyers goalie coach.

Leighton, 31, was 19-7-2 with a 2.68 goals-against average in 32 regulat-season games with the Flyers.

In 2010, Leighton helped lead the Flyers to the Finals, where he struggled mightily. In the conference finals, he set a franchise record for shutouts in a playoff series (three) against Montreal. In 14 games during that playoff run, Leighton went 8-3 with a 2.46 GAA and .916 save percentage.

In 104 NHL games with Chicago, Nashville, Carolina, and the Flyers, Leighton has a 35-40-10-4 record with a 2.95 GAA and .902 save percentage.


Here is how the Flyers may look next season and the gaps they are trying to fill:

Line 1: Hartnell-Giroux-XXXXX.

Line 2: Read-Briere-Simmonds.

Line 3: Talbot-Couturier-Voracek.

Line 4: Rinaldo-B.Schenn-Wellwood