The signing of the 31-year-old goalie was not popular with most fans on Twitter. Leighton, an AHL all-star last season, acknowledged that the strange overtime goal he allowed to Chicago's Patrick Kane when the Blackhawks won the 2010 Cup against the Flyers still weighs on him. And the fans.
"Obviously, you think about it," he said in a conference call with reporters. "You're that close to winning the Stanley Cup and you lose that way, it was tough. I'm sure it's going to be on my mind the rest of my life. But in a way, I think it's helped me. It's made me change a few things about my game and make sure that it doesn't happen again. I've been working on my game the last two years."
In 32 career regular-season games for the Flyers, Leighton has a 19-7-2 record and 2.68 goals-against average. During his 104-game career with four NHL teams, Leighton is 35-40-10-4 with a 2.95 GAA and .902 save percentage.
In 14 games during the 2010 playoffs, Leighton went 8-3 with a 2.46 GAA and .916 save percentage, and he set a franchise record for shutouts in a series by blanking Montreal three times.
But he struggled mightily in the Finals against Chicago.
The disastrous Kane goal is "not something that's going to go away. Maybe if I win the Stanley Cup next year it'll go away," said Leighton, adding that he agreed to the deal before the free-agency period had started. "There's a lot of fans that are still sour about it, and obviously I'm not happy about the way things went, either, but what happened, happened, and I have to move on in my life, and this is a good step for me."
Leighton said that he had a friendly relationship with Bryzgalov and that he looked forward to being his teammate and "learning from him."
Though he wasn't happy being in the minors the last two years, Leighton said he spoke with club executives frequently and "they were letting me know they still liked me and were still interested in me. My year-end meeting was no different. I talked to Homer [general manager Paul Holmgren], and he showed interest in me right away. That's a good feeling, and it would have been a lot different if I would have gone down there and never heard from them."
Contact Sam Carchidi at email@example.com. Follow @BroadStBull on Twitter.