• July 3, 2022

Leighton Cleared For Thursday, But Injury is Still a Question Mark

The news from Flyers brass today is that goaltender Michael Leighton’s lower back injury is apparently not that bad.  According to Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren, “He’s better today and I think by Thursday he should be fine and be ready to practice.”  The injury was a re-aggravation of a back strain pulled during summer work out sessions. While the MRI of Leighton’s back came back negative, I would be skeptical of bringing leighton back too quickly. The organization gave goaltender Ray Emery eight straight starts after returning from his initial injury last season and now his career may be over.

I would like to see how Leighton performs this season when given the full workload, but starting the season with goaltenders Brian Boucher and Johan Backlund could work out. I might be too optimistic, but I think Boosh will be more than capable of handling the load with the offensive and defensive support on front of him. Coming into last season, his position on the team was fairly unstable; it wasn’t “his” or any other goalie’s team. With Leighton out towards the end of last season, the team rallied behind him. The “worst” goaltender heading into the first round of the playoffs ended up having the best statistics.

Backlund is still a question mark with regards to his health, but he’s already played an entire season with the Adirondack Phantoms. He’s as prepared as he’s going to be for the NHL and starting him for the season as the back-up makes sense. Many are ready to see prospect Sergei Bobrovsky make the jump after his fantastic preseason play, but he is not ready for the NHL full-time and the organization knows this. With Backlund in as back-up, this would give “Bob” ample time to play with the Phantoms and further his development.

Bobrovsky also has a $1.75 million cap hit versus Leighton’s $1.5 million and Backlund’s $800K. If Leighton started the season on LTIR while he has the proper time to recover, moving up Backlund would free up money for the Flyers versus hindering the cap further. Cap space is at a premium this season, and the Flyers could use the extra space to their advantage.

Josh Janet

Josh Janet was raised in Northern New Jersey, but by an odd set of circumstances, is a Philadelphia sports fan. While recently converted to the Phillies, Josh is a diehard Flyers fan and can be expected to stay on top of the latest NHL news.

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