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Leighton announces retirement after 18 pro seasons

Photo: Lindsay Mogle

Michael Leighton, one of the most decorated goaltenders in AHL history, announced his retirement Monday in a story published by The Athletic.

Leighton, 38, played 18 seasons of professional hockey, including parts of 15 years in the American Hockey League with the Norfolk Admirals (2001-05), Rochester Americans (2005-06), Portland Pirates (2006-07), Philadelphia Phantoms (2006-07), Albany River Rats (2007-08), Adirondack Phantoms (2010-13), Rockford IceHogs (2014-16), Charlotte Checkers (2016-17), Syracuse Crunch (2017-18), Chicago Wolves (2017-18), Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (2017-18), Ontario Reign (2018-19) and Utica Comets (2018-19).

 

 

A five-time AHL All-Star, Leighton appeared in 507 regular-season games in the AHL, seventh-most in league history among goaltenders. He posted a career record of 250-186-50, good for fifth all-time in victories (250), and his 50 shutouts are the most ever by an AHL goalie.

Leighton was named to the AHL All-Rookie Team in 2001-02 and won the Aldege “Baz” Bastien Memorial Award as the AHL’s outstanding goaltender in 2007-08.

In postseason play, Leighton owns the AHL records for saves in a single game (98, in a five-overtime loss on Apr. 24, 2008) and for lowest goals-against average in a single playoff year (1.18, in 2008). He posted a 1.67 GAA, a .946 save percentage and five shutouts in 28 career Calder Cup Playoff contests (13-12).

The Petrolia, Ontario, native played in 110 career National Hockey League games with Chicago, Nashville, Philadelphia and Carolina, posting a record of 37-43-14 with a 2.98 GAA, a .900 save percentage and four shutouts. Leighton also appeared in 16 career Stanley Cup Playoff games, including a trip to the Stanley Cup Final with the Flyers in 2010 when he went 8-3 with three shutouts in 14 postseason contests.

Leighton was originally selected by the Chicago Blackhawks in the sixth round, 165th overall, at the 1999 NHL Draft.