DETROIT – The Detroit Red Wings signed goaltender Ty Conklin to a one-year contract, announcing the move Wednesday in the wake of Chris Osgood’s retirement, which left the Red Wings in need of a backup for starting goalie Jimmy Howard.
Conklin started 20 games for the St. Louis Blues last season, going 8-8-4 with a 3.22 goals-against average.
The 35-year-old Conklin has played eight seasons in the NHL with Edmonton, Columbus, Buffalo, Pittsburgh, Detroit and St. Louis. He was with the Red Wings in 2008-09, going 25-11-2 with a 2.51 goals-against average.
Conklin’s return to Detroit brings stability to the team’s goaltending situation. The Red Wings also recently re-signed Joey MacDonald to be the team’s No. 3 goaltender, but they needed to figure out who the primary backup would be.
Conklin brings plenty of experience. He started at least 20 games in each of the last four seasons, although his save percentage of .881 in 2010-11 was by far his worst over that span.
His 37 starts and 40 games with Detroit three seasons ago were both career highs. Conklin’s durability will be crucial. Osgood played only 11 games last season for Detroit, and he was sidelined after undergoing sports hernia surgery in January.
Conklin has only appeared in two career playoff games, neither as a starter. The Alaska native did play for the United States at the world championship earlier this year.
Detroit signed Howard to a two-year deal in February. While Osgood was injured last season, MacDonald stepped in to back up Howard.
General manager Ken Holland has said MacDonald’s role in 2011-12 will likely be similar to what it was last season, when he split time between the minors and the Red Wings.