Dear BSH community,
Here is interest hypothetical that should spurn more interesting discussion than simply hating on all the Flyers moves for the next little while at until the dust settles on Turco and Nabokov. Not like it mattered what the Flyers did people still would have been upset and anger brings out the most posts so all this was pretty much inevitable, but I digress.
If last year was Leighton's real rookie season and he was only say 24-26 years old like a Niemi or Halak based on the way he played I think everyone would be super excited about his signing calling it a steal at 1.55 million. If Leighton was our wonder-kid who came up of obscurity to carry his team to the Stanley Cup Finals peoples opinion of him would be radically different. He would be dubbed the second coming of Pelle Lindbergh and a mad rush would be on at Modelles for Leighton jerseys. But because of the his Rocky like roots we all just assume that is a definite impossibility.
Leighton gets killed based on his years before he was a Flyer and the fact he was a waiver pick up. He just can't shake his journeymen reputation and it is assumed that he would never be able to keep playing as good next season. Some guys are late bloomers and some guys are just the right fit for the team they are on. Leighton can be better or worse but there is also probably more evidence of young guys being one season wonders then older guys like Leighton, especially after signing the big contract and pressure is on. Chris Mason came on a older age same with Tim Thomas. But the list of the next great young goalie that didn't pan out is much longer. Nobody thinks Halak will regress nor Niemi they are locks to getting better and develop into stars. But Leighton who played at their same level coming back from injury and backstopped this team to the greatest comeback in hockey history has no chance at improving.
What happened to guys like Theodore, Raycroft, Lehtonen, to name of few. They were once the young stars of future and that flamed quickly. What makes Halak and Niemi any different for the long term? Nothing really but public perception. I am not sold on Leighton as getting better but there is a chance that he just might. He seems to have a good head on his shoulders and handles adversity well and bounces back from poor performances and based on that way he played I think he at least deserves his fair chance to prove everyone wrong.