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Photo Credit: Utica Comets

Canucks appear to have signed G Michael Leighton

With the Family Day weekend in the rearview mirror, it appears that the Canucks have added some more goaltending depth.

Leighton was a professional tryout with the Comets on January 15th and has won his last six straight starts after starting the year at 1-2-0 (two of those games with the Ontario Reign). He is now 7-2-0 with 3.06 GAA and 0.899 SV%.

Why there is reason to believe that the Canucks have signed him to a deal is because he was placed on waivers this morning and the organization is waiving him to send him back to the Comets. If he was still on the PTO, then there would be no reason for him to be on waivers.

It appears that the Canucks are insulating themselves further in net to ensure that they don’t run into issues for the last parts of the season. With Jacob Markstrom going through some nagging tightness and Thatcher Demko still working his way back from a knee injury, there was no harm in getting some more depth there. Once everyone is healthy, the Canucks will have the Markstrom and Demko tandem in Vancouver and then newly acquired Marek Mazanec and newly signed Michael Leighton for the Comets. That’s if everyone can get back to 100% health.

At the very least, they give a stable presence for the Comets in case injuries come back through the Canucks.

The official announcement, term, and financials should be released at some point later today

*Update* Canucks officially announced the deal

  • “[Leighton] has won his last six straight starts after starting the year at 1-2-0. He is now 7-2-0 with 3.06 GAA and 0.899 SV%.”

    As if anyone needed more proof that you shouldn’t judge a goalie by his wins.

  • Killer Marmot

    Some commenters wondered why the Canucks didn’t sign Leighton rather than trading for Mazanec. Turn out they wanted both.

    Cap Friendly, by the way, shows Leighton signed with the Canucks.

      • Mike Bossy

        Maybe it’s just me but I didn’t find this situation frustrating at all. Yes, Mikey got lit up in one game. But it seems like everyone who sorta knows him has said that he’ll be 100% fine. Oh well.

        • In my mind, it’s not so much the outcome but the process. Schneider and Demko had less-than-optimal debuts. However, they had AHL development whereas DiPietro was an emergency call-up to cover for Benning’s inability to get a back-up goaltender. DiPietro did bear the price for Benning’s slip-up.

          As Goon mentioned, there was no reason not to sign Leighton immediately unless they were *still* waiting for McKenna. Not sure what’s the big deal about McKenna unless it’s to preserve the optics of the Nilsson trade.

          • Mike Bossy

            Totally agree that it definitely wasn’t ideal to have an OHL kid backing up.

            They gambled and lost for sure. But….if they had won the gamble (Marky remaining healthy), Mikey would’ve gained some pretty good experience (I’m assuming, I’m just an intermediate beer leaguer haha) from being around professionals for a couple weeks.

      • Killer Marmot

        The Canucks may have wanted to see Leighton in action in Utica a few times before expending another contract. He had a particularly good game a few days ago.

  • Dirty30

    Good move considering Bachman is likely out for the season and Demko is showing a bit of an alarming propensity to get hurt and take some time to recover— no reason to rush him back, obviously, but still a little bit concerning.

    This at least will allow different call-ups depending n who is playing better at the time.

  • Kanuckhotep

    It never hurts to load up at any position and this is one lesson Benning will learn from going forward. Marky and Thatcher are a good NHL tandem but no one foresaw all these injuries and mgmt had to compensate, albeit probably slower than any interested on looker would like. In the future I’m certain the Canucks will learn from this and hopefully avoid a similar dilemma taking place like this one again.

    • Jim "Dumpster Fire" Benning

      “this is one lesson Benning will learn from going forward”

      What evidence indicates that Benning has learned from anything in his 4.5yrs here? That’s a massive assumption to make when talking about this current GM. If you were speaking about almost anybody else, it would be quite rational to make that assumption, but not with this guy.

    • Captain Video

      The Canucks have been hit by multiple injuries that expose the franchise’s lack of depth in each of the past three seasons, not just this one. Benning should have “learned from this” three years ago. Just poor risk management on the part of the front office.

  • Fred-65

    Leighton being signed is I suspect the reason that Philly recalled Brian Elliot. McKenna can now be sent down to the AHL without loosing him. Check mate Jimbo

      • Fred-65

        IMHO it’s tough for Philly to hang their hat on the play of a 20 year old goal tender. They must have some faith in McKenna or they wouldn’t have claimed him off of waivers in the first place. I agree that’s a whole bundle of cash tied up on doubtful goaltending, but I’d have to think they have plans fro one of Elliot or Talbot. Look crazy from the outside

        • McKenna got lit up in his only game with Philly. They stashed him in the AHL on a conditioning loan from Jan 30 to Feb 12 where he also got lit up. I think it’s pretty clear that they’re going to run with Talbot and Hart. I think half of McKenna was addressing their own goalie injuries and now it’s just messing with Benning by putting Elliott and McKenna on conditioning loans rather than waivers.

  • Kootenaydude

    Some people are saying that Demko is always injured. I know he started the season with a concussion and tweaked his knee recently. What are all the other injuries he has sustained? I didn’t have a problem with DiPietro playing a game last week. It was a glimpse at one of our prospects. I honestly like goalies that are bigger than DiPietro

    • Fred-65

      I have trouble with the DiPietro farce. But then again I laid out a whole bunch of money to watch that, and I certainly didn’t like it. I paid on the basis of NHL players not OHL. As to DiPietro I agree about his size. He’s a reflex goalie because of his stature which might be OK in the immediate but it’s one of the first things to go …. reflexes. I’m betting they’ll look to take a goalie in this next draft

  • Jim "Dumpster Fire" Benning

    “It appears that the Canucks are insulating themselves further in net to ensure that they don’t run into issues for the last parts of the season”

    Where was this type of “proactive” managing for the 5 week period between Jan 1 and Feb 7???? Oh yeah, it wasn’t a colossal issue that the media got hold of like they did with the Dipietro mini fiasco back then.

    Interesting…. more clear signs of “reactive” and slow managing.

    • Sedin33

      Many rationalizations in this comment section. The only one I would buy is that Demko’s injury is now considered to be longer than originally expected. Therefore, they didn’t want to be in the same position as before.

      But in the larger picture, I think this shows that this management group is far too reactive than proactive. Time for a change!

  • North Van Halen

    The rationalization is that it wasn’t a big deal when Dipietro got a start and it still isn’t today. No matter how many times you guys wanna turn this mole hill into a mountain it’s still a molehill.
    You guys can keep up your ‘old man screams at the sky’ routine on this until tomorrow, the end of the season, this off-season, next year or until the day Benning departs, it still won’t make even an iota of difference n the big picture. As of the next day, it was largely a non thing except for those needing something to hate Benning about this week.

    On a scale of 1 to 100 this whole thing ranks a whopping 2 on how much it affects the short and long term of the franchise. 2 out of 100.

  • Hockey Bunker

    DiPietro is a battler. He’ll use the seven goals against as motivation. It’s great for his development. And you can bet the team is embarrassed by what happened to the kid and the next time he plays, even two or three years down the road, they will play their bags off for him.