Chirps from Center Ice

A fan blog about the AHL's Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins

Goats Love Coal — Pens Acquire Michael Leighton

There was a trade made Tuesday afternoon with major implications on the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins.

The Pittsburgh Penguins acquired goaltender Michael Leighton from the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for Josh Archibald, Sean Maguire and 2019 draft pick.

Michael Leighton is one of the greatest AHL goaltenders to put on a pair of pads.

Here is his resume, from the League release on the trade….

Leighton, a five-time AHL All-Star, had been acquired by the Coyotes on Nov. 14 in a trade from Tampa Bay. In 14 AHL games between Syracuse and Chicago this season, Leighton has a record of 4-4-4 with a 3.16 goals-against average, an .869 save percentage and one shutout.

The AHL’s career leader in shutouts (50), Leighton has appeared in 479 career AHL games with a record of 236-176-48, ranking fifth all-time in victories and eighth among goaltenders in games played. He was named to the AHL All-Rookie Team in 2001-02 and won the Aldege “Baz” Bastien Memorial Award as the AHL’s outstanding goaltender in 2007-08.

In postseason play, Leighton owns the AHL records for saves in a single game (98, in a five-overtime loss on Apr. 24, 2008) and for lowest GAA in a single playoff year (1.18, in 2008). He shows a 1.67 GAA, a .946 save percentage and five shutouts in 28 career Calder Cup Playoff contests (13-12).

He’s been around the AHL this season, initially starting with Syracuse, with a stop in AHL Chicago, he did not appear in a game with the Coyotes AHL affiliate, Tucson. He was loaned to Chicago from Arizona.

So the crease in Wilkes-Barre looks like Casey DeSmith and Michael Leighton. Unless there is another move coming down the pike which would see Tristan Jarry coming back down and Leighton going to to backup Matt Murray, which is entirely plausible.

Sean Maguire needed the change in scenery. He will a great asset for the Tucson Roadrunners. He was kind of lost in the shuffle here in Wilkes-Barre.

Josh Archibald wasn’t going to make it through waivers the thought process was by the brain trust up in Pittsburgh.

Jonathan had an interesting take…

I disagree with that thought process entirely. Casey DeSmith played his way up from ECHL obscurity a few seasons ago to an NHL contract this past summer. He is as about as solid a #1 AHL goaltender you can find, anywhere, just like Tristan Jarry and Matt Murray before him.

But like I tell people all the time, I don’t manage or coach the organization, I just blog about it.

Oh dear, as I was about to hit publish on this, a second trade was made with another implication affecting Wilkes-Barre.

Penguins acquire Jamie Oleksiak from the Dallas Stars in exchange for a 2019 conditional fourth round draft pick. As a part of the move, Kevin Czuczman was re-assigned to the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins.

The conditional end of it is explained here…

Out the door, Wilkes-Barre recalled Jarrett Burton and Jeff Taylor from Wheeling Monday. With Ethan Prow’s status up in the air and Wilkes-Barre playing with just one extra forward last weekend, the need for those recalls were justified. Elsewhere, ex-Penguin Stuart Percy signed an AHL deal with the Rochester Americans.

Is there a third move up the sleeve of Penguins GM Jim Rutherford? We have to wait and see.

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