The Blackhawks solidified their goaltending depth on Tuesday by re-signing Michael Leighton to a one-year, two-way contract. With Antti Raanta traded to the New York Rangers on Saturday, Leighton is the leading candidate to be the Hawks’ No. 3 goalie next season, and their top goalie in Rockford.
The Hawks also have Anders Nilsson, who was acquired from the New York Islanders in the Nick Leddy trade last October. Nilsson left for the KHL last year after wanting out of the AHL, but he reportedly wants to come back to North America, and the Hawks are very high on him.
The 34-year-old Leighton was 22-13-4 with a .920 save percentage and a 2.26 goals-against average with Rockford this past season, posting five shutouts. He was named the IceHogs’ MVP. Originally drafted by Chicago, Leighton has played in 105 NHL games, and is 8-4 in the playoffs, leading the Flyers to the 2010 Stanley Cup Final, where he lost to the Hawks.
Free agency opens on Wednesday, and the Hawks are hoping to have restricted free agents Brandon Saad and Marcus Kruger signed as soon as possible.