It wouldn't be Philadelphia without good 'ole controversy, right? Whether it's a quarterback controversy or a net-minding one, there's always a problem in Philadelphia. Don't kid yourselves, folks: This situation with Michael Leighton and Sergei Bobrovsky, when it does come to light, will also cause a ruckus.
Bobrovsky has been solid in his rookie campaign as he stepped in for the Flyers during Leighton's absence. Pretty soon though, this could change, as Leighton is expected to return within the next few weeks. "Bob," as he's most commonly referred to, has done more than just solidify the Flyers' net. He's gone one step further for Coach Peter Laviolette. Bob's given the Flyers confidence in their future with him between the pipes.
Here are a few reasons why trading Michael Leighton makes sense right now.
Clearly, the Philadelphia Flyers' claiming of Michael Leighton off of waivers last season was nothing more than a desperate act. At the time, how could it have been described as anything else? The Flyers were dealing with injuries to both Ray Emery and Brian Boucher and were looking for an answer at goal—or just a body to be quite frank. Leighton would prove to be even more than that, though, by posting a 16-5-2 record for the Flyers before his injury in March against the Nashville Predators.
Leighton has been a lifelong backup that never really had a team to call his own due to injuries—until that portion of last. Then, once again in the playoffs, after another Boucher injury, Leighton took the reins and took the Flyers to the top. Many saw this as a fluke in a certain way as Leighton has never truly been a team's "star" goalie. This is something that the Flyers have been missing for quite some time. Have they discovered one in Bobrovsky though?
Just to try and explain how backwards and vague the Flyers' situation in net really was in 2009-2010, they used five goalies, two of which were rookies. In the end, it all culminated in an overall great season, though, which saw the Flyers land just two games away from a Stanley Cup Title.
So far this season the Flyers have again rallied around an inexperienced goalie and contributed. Only this time it's Bobrovsky and not Leighton as it was last season. The Flyers are proving to be as advertised on defense, and while still looking for the offense to reach its fullest potential, they are getting there.
This season will present many challenges for the Flyers on and off the ice. Ed Snider has many decisions to make in regards to the future of the team. On the ice however, the Flyers will need to show the hockey world that last season was no fluke.
The future is certainly bright for this team, and without Leighton they've responded to their young Russian goaltender. This makes it easier to imagine a future without Michael Leighton in it.
Still Can't Figure Out How That One Went In
Michael Leighton was outstanding in the comeback against Boston in the Semis, then even better against Montreal to carry the Flyers to the Finals. But it's hard to forget how poorly he played against Chicago in the Finals. His style became easy to figure out for the Blackhawks scorers, and they exposed Leighton immensely.
The idea of getting deeper in the net was how he was often beaten by the Hawks, as we saw with Patrick Kane's series-clinching tally. Goal-tending coach Jeff Reese did wonders with Leighton last season and has done the same so far with Bobrovsky this year. Regardless though, Leighton was susceptible to ugly goals throughout the series, and his star status fell off in the defining moments.
After he returns from injury and plays in some games, Michael Leighton could have somewhat of a decent trade value for the Flyers. The Flyers believe that their future is in Sergei Bobrovsky who has shown flashes of brilliance thus far as a rookie.
The way the Flyers are built right now they don't really have any position in particular to fill. Though depth never hurts, the Flyers can build their future even further through the draft.
They can't expect to get a whole lot in return for Leighton and should be content with anything in my opinion.
Sergei Bobrovsky is the future and present of the Philadelphia Flyers. He has answered every challenge that Peter Laviolette has put in front of him this season and has the Flyers sitting atop the Eastern Conference. Bobrovsky appears to be "the answer" for the Flyers in net. This is something that they haven't had for quite some time.
Bobrovsky is definitely NHL-ready and is growing by the start. His stellar pace is something that the entire organization is impressed with—the legend of "Bob" will only continue to grow.