AHL goalie of year Leighton to back up Ward next season

Updated: June 11, 2008, 11:25 AM ET
Associated Press

RALEIGH, N.C. -- The Carolina Hurricanes signed goaltender Michael Leighton to a two-year, $1.2 million contract on Wednesday.

The 27-year-old Leighton will be backup to Cam Ward. Leighton spent most of last season with Albany, Carolina's top minor-league affiliate in the American Hockey League.

Leighton was chosen AHL goalie of the year after leading the league in save percentage (.931) and shutouts (7) and tying for second in goals-against average (2.10).

He appeared in three games with the Hurricanes last season, going 1-1 with a 2.66 GAA.

Leighton might be best known for his performance during the AHL playoffs last season, when he had a record 98 saves during a five-overtime loss to Philadelphia in the Calder Cup. He added to that with a 40-save shutout in the following game.

Leighton, a sixth-round draft pick by Chicago in 1999, has played in 50 NHL games.


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press