Reunited and it feels so good. The Detroit Red Wings solidified their goaltending situation after the retirement of veteran Chris Osgood with the free-agent signing of Ty Conklin. The deal is for one year and Conklin will receive a salary of $750,000. This will be Conklin’s second stint in Detroit, as he backed up Osgood in the 2008-09, going 25-11-2 with a .909 save percentage and 2.51 goals-against average.
That season, Conklin and the Red Wings reached the Stanley Cup final for the second-straight season when they lost to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Strangely, Conklin played for the Penguins in 2007-08 when they lost to the Red Wings in the championship series. Conklin spent the last-two seasons in St. Louis where he backed up Jaroslav Halak last season. The Red Wings are pleased with the signing, as he is a solid backup and could give the Red Wings fan base more confidence between the pipes over Osgood, who has been injured often in the last two seasons.
Conklin has also played for the Penguins, Blue Jackets, Sabres and Oilers. He has won 91 games in 200 caps, including 16 shutouts. He has a 2.64 GAA and .908 save percentage for his career.
Osgood’s fate was virtually sealed ten days ago when the team re-signed Joey MacDonald to a two-year contract. GM Ken Holland couldn’t take the risk of having Osgood, 38 years old, had sports hernia surgery in January, back this season if they wanted to look towards the future and to get younger in goal. MacDonald, 31 years old, understands his role as the No. 3 goalie and will begin the season in Grand Rapids with the AHL Griffins. He will be the first goalie recalled to the big club should anything happen to 27-year-old Jimmy Howard or 35-year-old Conklin. The team is secure at the goalie position until 2013 when Howard and MacDonald become UFA’s. Should the team not bring back Conklin next summer, expect 21-year-old Thomas McCollum to move to the No. 3 role for 2012-13. McCollum made one appearance in the Red Wings last season.