The Carolina Hurricanes assigned Michael Leighton to the Charlotte Checkers on Friday morning, with the intention of getting their backup netminder some playing time tonight for the Checkers against Bakersfield.
Leighton last played in the Canes’ 4-2 loss to the Rangers last Saturday afternoon. Cam Ward has played in three straight games since then, and given this move looks likely to play again tomorrow against the Sharks.
With Eddie Lack not on the road trip, the Canes will need to recall another goaltender, most likely Leighton again, before tomorrow night's game to back up Ward. It's convenient timing to have both the Canes and Checkers in California simultaneously to allow this move to occur.
The release from the team is below.
CANES ASSIGN MICHAEL LEIGHTON TO CHECKERS
Netminder will play tonight in Bakersfield
Ron Francis, Executive Vice President and General Manager of the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes, today announced that the team has assigned goaltender Michael Leighton to the Charlotte Checkers of the American Hockey League (AHL). Leighton will play for Charlotte in tonight’s road game against the Bakersfield Condors.
Leighton, 35, is 1-1 with a 3.05 goals-against average this season for the Hurricanes. The Petrolia, Ont., native ranks third among AHL goaltenders this season in goals-against average (1.66) and save percentage (.937), earning a 6-2-1 record for Charlotte. In 108 career NHL regular-season games, Leighton (6’3”, 186 lbs.) has compiled a 36-42-14 record, a 2.96 goals-against average and a .901 save percentage with Chicago, Nashville, Philadelphia and Carolina. He was drafted by Chicago in the sixth round, 165th overall, in the 1999 NHL Entry Draft, and signed as a free agent with the Hurricanes on Sept. 7, 2016.
Update 12/10: Leighton’s visit to the Checkers lasted just shy of 24 hours. The Canes have recalled him and he will be available to back Ward up tonight in San Jose.