Conklin returns to the Red Wings

Doyle Woody

Ty Conklin's decade-long tour of the NHL will take the goaltender from Anchorage back to one of his past rink residences after the Detroit Red Wings announced Wednesday they have signed him to a one-year contract.

Conklin, 35, an unrestricted free agent who is the only goalie from Alaska to play in the world's best league, will make $750,000, according to

He is expected to serve as the backup to Jimmy Howard -- that No. 2 position opened up Tuesday when longtime Wings netminder Chris Osgood announced his retirement.

Conklin could not be reached Wednesday.

A late bloomer who was an All-American at New Hampshire, Conklin has carved out a 10-year pro career in which he has turned the term journeyman into as much an accurate noun as a judgment. Conklin has played for six NHL teams, and he has landed in 11 different cities in a career that has included time in the American Hockey League and the German Elite League.

In the last five seasons, though, Conklin has been solidly entrenched, if well-traveled, in the NHL -- he has played for St. Louis, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Buffalo and Columbus in that stretch.

In returning to Detroit, he heads back to the franchise where he did some of his best work. Conklin in 2008-09, his lone season with the Red Wings, went 25-11-2 with a 2.51 goals-against average, .909 save percentage and six shutouts. That season he posted career highs in wins, appearances (40), minutes played (2,246) and shutouts.

In his NHL career, Conklin is 91-61-20 with a 2.64, .908 and 16 shutouts. He also represented the U.S. three times at the World Championships, and in 2004 was named the best goaltender in that tournament.

Conklin, who began his NHL career with the Edmonton Oilers, spent the last two seasons with the St. Louis Blues on a deal that paid him $2.6 million. Last season, he went 8-8-4 with a 3.22, .881 and two shutouts.

The Red Wings treated Anchorage goalies well Wednesday, when they also re-signed AHL backstop Jordan Pearce to a two-year deal that furnishes him a significant raise in the league one notch below the NHL.

Pearce will earn $85,000 in the upcoming season and $95,000 in 2012-13 after making $65,000 in his first two seasons in Detroit's organization. Should Pearce ascend to the NHL, he will be paid the league minimum of $525,000.

Pearce, a former Central Collegiate Hockey Association Player of the Year at Notre Dame, last season played almost exclusively with AHL Grand Rapids, going 20-15-5 with a 2.89, .908 and one shutout.

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Blog: Woody on Hockey