The Chicago Blackhawks announced today that they have agreed to terms with goaltender Michael Leighton on a one-year contract.
Leighton, 33, has posted 35 wins (35-41-14), a 2.97 goals-against average and .901 save percentage in 105 career regular-season games over parts of eight seasons with the Blackhawks (2002-2004), Nashville (2006-07), Philadelphia (2006-07; 2009-13) and Carolina (2007-09). He has notched an 8-4 record in 16 Stanley Cup Playoff games and currently holds the NHL record for most shutouts in a postseason series (3 vs. MTL in 2010 Eastern Conference Final).
Leighton, originally drafted by the Blackhawks in the sixth round (165th overall) of the 1999 NHL Entry Draft, appeared in 42 contests over two seasons with the club during his NHL debut, collecting eight wins (8-21-10), a 2.81 GAA and a .901 SV%. He was the franchise’s first goaltender to post a shutout in his NHL debut after doing so on Jan. 8, 2003 vs. ARI.
The Petrolia, Ontario, native spent last season with the KHL’s Donbass Donetsk, where he was part of a goaltending tandem that set a team record for fewest goals allowed during the regular season. Leighton, who helped the club reach the second round of the playoffs, shared third in the league with 20 regular-season wins, ranked seventh with a 1.74 GAA and ninth with a .934 SV%.
Leighton has also notched 171 victories (171-144-29) in 354 career American Hockey League tilts spanning 10 seasons with the Norfolk Admirals (2001-05), Rochester Americans (2005-06), Portland Pirates (2006-07), Philadelphia Phantoms (2006-07), Albany River Rats (2007-08) and Adirondack Phantoms (2010-2013). He was named to the 2001-02 All-Rookie Team. During the 2007-08 season, Leighton was honored with the "Baz Bastien Memorial Award" as the league’s best goaltender and named to the First All-Star Team.