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03-04-2013, 10:49 AM
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A Fistful of Dollars
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From Sunday's coverage of the Phantoms...

The 31-year-old Leighton had started just one game since April 2012, thanks to the four-month lockout, Philadelphia’s use of Bryzgalov as a workhorse and the injury he suffered in practice. As he neared full health, he and Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren discussed Leighton’s future.

The goaltender needed reps, and not the kind he could get during a practice. The best way for a goalie to prepare for a game is to play one, to work himself back into a rhythm of facing shooters.

“He told me I definitely needed to play, and I agreed,” Leighton said. “I haven’t played for a while. I played one game against Tampa Bay and then I sat for two or three weeks and then I got hurt and have been out for two or three weeks. It’s something that I thought was the right thing to do.”

That begs the question, why not just assign Leighton to the Phantoms on a conditioning stint? Why place him on waivers, and run the risk that one of the other 29 NHL teams put in a claim?

That was discussed, Leighton said, but a conditioning assignment would have kept him on the Flyers’ 23-man roster. His salary also would have counted against the cap while in the AHL. By placing Leighton on waivers first, the Flyers do not have to worry about either of those issues.

“(Holmgren) was going to do a conditioning stint, but we had too many players on the roster and cap issues,” Leighton said. “He just said ‘We’re going to have to put you on waivers. Go down and play some games, and hopefully be back up.’ ”

Leighton made his AHL season debut Sunday as the Phantoms lost to Albany 3-2. He made 25 saves and played well, though the competitor in him was upset with two of the goals he allowed.

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