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Hurricanes sign Leighton to two-year deal

The Canadian Press

6/11/2008 9:48:45 AM

RALEIGH, N.C. - Michael Leighton has made his way back to the NHL.

The Carolina Hurricanes signed the veteran goaltender to a US$1.2-million, two-year contract on Wednesday. Leighton received a one-way deal and will start next season as Cam Ward's backup.

The 27-year-old played in Albany last season and was named the American Hockey League's goalie of the year after leading the league in save percentage (.931) and shutouts (7) and tying for second in goals-against average (2.10).

Leighton also appeared in three games with the Hurricanes, going 1-1-0.

"Michael had an outstanding year with Albany last season, and also handled himself well during his time on the NHL level," said Hurricanes assistant GM Ron Francis. "He has earned a role on our team going forward and we feel confident in our goaltending situation with him and Cam Ward between the pipes."

Leighton has appeared in 50 career NHL games with Chicago, Nashville, Philadelphia and Carolina. He has an 11-24-10 record with a 3.01 GAA.