Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Flyers re-sign Leighton; will he be starter or backup?

The Flyers have finally signed a goalie! While it may disappoint many Flyers fans, the team has signed goaltender Michael Leighton to a 2 year, 3.1 million dollar contract. This contract is a nice raise for Leighton, who made only 600,000 last year, after his solid play in the playoffs. The question that immediately comes to mind, though, is whether the Flyers believe they now have their starting goaltender or if Leighton was simply brought back to be the back-up.

With the Flyers recent pursuits of Evgeni Nabokov and Marty Turco, many thought it was a sign that the team wanted to get an established number one in net. With the signing of Leighton, does that mark a change in their strategy? Early indications from the Flyers are that they will still pursue another goaltender this offseason but it won't be for an outrageous price. In fact, TSN's Bob McKenzie believes that the Flyers won't spend more than 2 million on another goalie. That price range would put them out of the Nabokov/Turco territory and more in the Marty Biron territory.

If the Flyers do in fact sign another goaltender, it will mean that Brian Boucher, despite being under contract next season, will either be traded or sent to the minors. With Boosh set to make 925,000 next season, the Flyers will jettison him and use that money elsewhere.

If the Flyers do choose to go the cheap route on goaltending, look for them to really beef up their defense through free agency. Their thinking must be that if they can't bring in a top goalie, they might as well have a lock-down defense. While the Dan Hamhuis situation didn't quite work the first time around, I definitely expect them to re-visit talks with him and several of the other top defenseman that hit the open market.

Michael Leighton certainly deserves the raise he just got but let's hope he was re-signed to be the back-up. While he played great at times, the Flyers need to upgrade in net to a proven, more reliable starting goaltender. The Flyers do know this so expect them to be very busy once free agency kicks off tomorrow.


Luke said...

any chance of getting volchenkov? hes solid on d as far as i know and he blocks a lot of shots

allthingsphilly said...

I've heard his name brought up a few times in regards to the Flyers. He might want more than the Flyers can afford, though.