Michael Leighton Sets New AHL Shutout Record
Rockford IceHog’s goaltender Michael Leighton set a new American Hockey League record, after recording his 46th career regular season shutout during a 5-0 win over Lake Erie on Saturday.
Drafted in the sixth round (165th overall) of the 1999 NHL Entry Draft by the Chicago Blackhawks, Leighton stopped all 35-shots faced to pass legend Johnny Bower, who recorded 45 AHL shut outs during his 11 AHL seasons with the Cleveland Barons and Providence Reds.
Leighton played in 105 NHL career games for Chicago, Nashville, Philadelphia and Carolina, posting a .901 save percentage and 2.97 goals-against average. He was also in net for the Flyers during the 2010 Stanley Cup Final, which Chicago won in six games.
Leighton has gone 27-6-8 for the IceHogs this season, with a .920 save percentage, 2.38 goals-against average and five shut outs. In 439 AHL career games to date, he has recorded 220 wins, placing him ninth on the all-time list, and was awarded the Aldege “Baz” Bastien Memorial Award as the AHL’s most outstanding goaltender in 2007-2008.
The 34-year old also owns the AHL records for saves in a single game (98, in a five-overtime loss on April 24th 2008) and for the lowest goals-against average in a single playoff year (1.18, in 2008).
Leighton’s playoff statistics stand at an impressive 1.68 goals-against average and .946 save percentage with five shutouts in 27 career Calder Cup Playoff games.
The veteran puck stopper is currently contracted to the Chicago Blackhawks, but is set to become an unrestricted free agent in the summer. Now in his 15th professional season, Leighton also spent a year in the KHL, icing for Donbass Donetsk during the 2013-2014 season.
InGoal has caught up with Leighton several times during his career, including as he returned from back surgery that cost him his job in Philadelphia shortly after helping them get to the Cup Final (it includes video of him working with then goalie coach Jeff Reese), and for an Ask-A-Pro segment that touched on everything from national anthems to beating dehydration and communicating with defensemen.