Leighton, a former starter for the Rats, could be snatched up by another team at half price or reassigned to Albany should he go unclaimed.
The Hurricanes signed veteran goalie Manny Legace earlier in the season after Cam Ward was injured. With Ward expected to return December 9, the Canes have a surplus of netminders.
Legace was favored over Leighton from the start and the vet outperformed the younger goaltender in the handful of games they split.
Leighton, 28, in the final year of his contract with Carolina, was hoping to find a starting job in the NHL next season, but the chances of that happening now are slim to none.
In seven games with the Hurricanes this season, Leighton has a less than impressive 4.28 GAA and a .850 SV%.
In 19 NHL games last season Leighton registered a decent 2.92 GAA and a .901 SV%.
With the River Rats in 2007-08, Leighton recorded seven shutouts, a 2.10 GAA and a .931 SV% after 58 games.
If Leighton is reassigned to Albany, he would likely share time or serve as a back-up to Justin Peters, while rookie Mike Murphy could be sent to the ECHL for extra playing time.
UPDATE: Leighton cleared waivers today (12/8) at noon.