Ok, the question has got to be asked (Leighton)...
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05-20-2010, 11:03 AM
Join Date: Feb 2007
Leighton has exceeded our expectations and has done everything asked of him and then some. Many of us have been waiting for the other shoe to drop and so far he continues to prove us wrong. He is a feel good story and it would be amazing if he emerged as the goalie we've been waiting for. It would be nice if he could finally find that job stability that he and his family need.
That being said, I still do not want him back as starter unless he wins the Cup (which he may). While he has been great, it's still too small of a sample size for me to be convinced that he is the number 1 we've been waiting for. We've seen far too many mediocre goalies go on to have a great season only to fall off the next year. I still have a hard time believing that a guy who has struggled to remain a NHL goalie has suddenly gotten it and developed into a #1. I have a hard time believing Jeff Reese is some magical goalie guru who fixed Leighton when every other goalie coach failed. Especially considering Reese had little success in Tampa. You think Leighton's other coach's never made the same suggestions to him? Leighton's regular season splits suggest a regression will take place next year. I'd be surprised if he replicates his success, but I'd be thrilled for him if he could. I'm just not willing to gamble that he will although a Cup win will make it a lot easier to do so.
A great GM/evaluator has to be careful not to fall in love with a player when things are going well over a small sample. You have to be very candid in your assessment of a player. When the Oilers went on their Cinderella run Kevin Lowe fell in love with a lot of the unlikely heroes from that run and they all received long term contracts. Every single one of those contracts turned out to be a mistake. Holmgren has to be careful to not to do the same. I think doling out a 2-3 year deal to Leighton will likely be a mistake.
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