Hours before the NHL roster freeze, the Pittsburgh Penguins announced they acquired a depth goalie, Michael Leighton, for Josh Archibald. The Penguins will also receive a 2019 fourth-round pick from Arizona in exchange for minor league goalie Sean Maguire and a 2019 sixth-round selection.
Leighton, 36, will provide the Penguins with an NHL experienced netminder behind Tristan Jarry and starter Matt Murray. Murray has suffered five injuries in his brief NHL career. Leighton has played with five NHL teams, including two stops in Philadelphia, Carolina, and Chicago, in his 16 year NHL career.
Leighton played four games in the NHL, last season, for the Carolina Hurricanes. He posted a .870 save percentage and 3.42 Goals Against Average. In total, he has played only five NHL games over the past three seasons, including none this season.
Penguins fans were treated to a hello and goodbye moment from Archibald, Monday night. The speedy fourth liner was a noticeable force on the ice, in a game which the Penguins otherwise struggled to compete. Archibald has three goals in 14 career regular season NHL games. He also played in four playoff games last season, including the Eastern Conference Final.
A few weeks ago, Archibald talked with Pittsburgh Hockey Now. He was eager to contribute. He will get that chance in Arizona, now.
This was not the shakeup.
The Penguins gave away a spark plug in exchange for an AHL goalie with NHL experience. The Penguins needed to make a move for goalie depth. Such moves typically cost a draft pick or pressbox type player. It’s clear, the Penguins view Archibald as a pressbox nachos type guy…and do so incorrectly.
To spoil a coming column–the 2016 Pittsburgh Penguins capitalized on youth and exuberance. Remember the “Wilkes Barre Crew”? From Matt Murray to Bryan Rust, the Penguins had young players anxious to be there.
Archibald was another such player. Speed. Tenacity. Exuberance. He was an addition to the Penguins fourth line. He is definitely a Rick Tocchet type player.
However, it was clear last night that Archibald was not going to get much playing time going forward. When specifically asked about Archibald, head coach Mike Sullivan deflected to the success of the unit. Perhaps now we know why.
Mike Sullivan specifically avoided saying Archibald would get more ice time when Yohe asked, specifically.
Can’t imagine he doesn’t earn a sweater for a good stretch.
— Dan Kingerski (@Budmoonshine) December 19, 2017
If Leighton enters an important game, the Penguins could be in trouble. Not only has Leighton struggled at the NHL level for the past three years, he has been torched by AHL competition this year, too. And I mean torched.
In five games with the Chicago Wolves, Leighton has posted a .869 save percentage and 3.40 Goals Against Average.
Casey DeSmith must be wondering.
The Penguins certainly could have used third goalie help. However, just as they did when they acquired a third line center in July, and again in October, it would appear they have not solved the problem.
.869 in the AHL for a player this writer believes should be in the NHL on a fourth line. Ouch. No Bueno.
Check out this week’s No Pucks Given, as we dissect a potential Penguins shakeup.