Chicago, IL, United States (4E Sports) – The Chicago Blackhawks are among the teams who expressed their interest in goaltender Michael Leighton and were able to ink the veteran to a one-year, two-way deal.
Leighton played his previous season with KHL’s Donbass Donetsk until his contract was void.
Now he will return for his second stint in the NHL, playing for the team that drafted him in 1999.
The 33-year-old played in international leagues but never lost hope he would play again in the NHL.
“I want to play in the NHL. I want to play for the Blackhawks. Hopefully it works out for me, but my focus right now is just playing the best hockey that I can and let the chips fall as they may,” he stated.
Leighton said he signed with the Blackhawks because he is familiar with the organization and the team has established a great reputation.
He also shared that the conditions were tough when he was with the Blackhawks, playing 42 games in two seasons (2002-2004) for the squad.
But he knew that when he parted ways with Chicago, the team will be able to soar to new heights.
“When you hear the organization is the best in the League you obviously are drawn to that. That right there is an attraction for me.”
Besides playing for the Blackhawks, Leighton’s most notable stint was with the Philadelphia Flyers.
He helped the Flyers reach the Stanley Cup Finals against the Blackhawks in 2010, allowing Patrick Kane’s overtime goal of the Stanley Cup Finals in game 6.
“Obviously disappointing for me, didn’t want it to end that way. It was a good run for me and the Flyers,” Leighton stated.
He added, “I’m moving on from that and looking forward to a new start with the Blackhawks.”