Ty Conklin may have never been an All-Star goaltender at the NHL level, but he did play in 215 games and recorded 96 wins. He had successful stints with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Detroit Red Wings and St. Louis Blues and also played for three other teams. The Blues have now brought Conklin on as an addition to their development staff and will hope he can use his knowledge and experience to improve the organization’s young netminders.
This was a great move by the Blues for several reasons. Conklin will apparently be working primarily with the Blues’ AHL prospects (Chicago Wolves), and as a goaltender that suited up for five different AHL teams during his career he’s certainly familiar with the game at that level. In addition to being able to teach young goaltenders on-ice, he should also be able to help them mature off the ice as he was not only a well-traveled goaltender but a well-respected teammate too.
The Blues have already seen Jake Allen make the jump to the NHL and have success, and while he may end up in the AHL to start next season he likely won’t be there long. 2011 third round draft pick Jordan Binnington should suit up for the Wolves next season, and Swede Niklas Lundstrom could also be in the mix. The Red Wings saw firsthand what having a former NHL goaltender as a development coach can do this season, as Chris Osgood helped Petr Mrazek and Thomas McCollum of the Grand Rapids Griffins play well enough to help the team to the AHL’s Calder Cup championship. If Conklin can have even some degree of similar success, this will be a great move by the Blues.