Goaltending Nightmare Continues; Leighton Injured; Esche to Return?

The Flyers’ goaltending situation never seems to be settled. After starter Ray Emery went down with an injury, Michael Leighton was plucked off waivers from Carolina. He played brilliantly and appeared to have a hot hand going into the stretch run. So, a trade at the deadline did not appear necessary. Of course, after the deadline expires, Leighton goes down with an ankle injury. The results of an MRI should be known tomorrow.

In the meantime, the Flyers have recalled 23 year-old Jeremy Duchesne from the AHL Andirondack Phantoms to back up Brian Boucher. He’s appeared in only two games with the Phantoms, playing 23 games with the Flyers’ ECHL affiliate in Kalamazoo.

If Leighton’s MRI indicates that he may not be ready for a while (if at all) the Flyers will be in a real bind. Boucher has been mediocre at best this season and has not seen much playing time. There’s not alot of confidence in him as a playoff goalie. The Flyers are now talking to former Flyer goalie Robert Esche, who has just finished his season in Russia. Esche played for the Flyers from the 2002-03 season to 2006-07, and had a great playoff run in 2006. The Flyers like Esche, who did not return to the NHL after the lockout season, but there is some uncertainty about NHL rules regarding signing a player at this point. It looks as though he could be signed for the season but may not be eligible for the playoff roster. This would have to be clarified before any signing would take place. If Leighton is unable to return, Esche could be the answer for a dependable goalie going into the playoffs. Stay tuned.

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