Saturday, February 26, 2011

Blues place veteran Conklin on waivers

Unrestricted free agent in summer,
goaltender will learn his fate by Monday morning

ST. LOUIS -- Veteran backup goaltender Ty Conklin was placed on waivers today by the Blues, who will learn by Monday morning if another club put in a claim or he'll stay in St. Louis.

The 34-year-old, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer is 7-6-3 with a 3.11 goals-against averave and an .884 save percentage on the season, is 17-16-5 over two seasons with the Blues.

After a 25-save shutout on Feb. 18 at Buffalo, Conklin has allowed 10 goals on 66 shots over four games, two of those starts.

Count the fact Ben Bishop, who shut out Edmonton Friday with a 39-save effort, is likely to be given the opportunity to win the backup job next year, it made the veteran Conklin expendable. And since he's being placed on waivers, there is the likelihood there was no trade interest around the league for him.

"We just felt that there was an opportunity to see if a team wants Ty for the rest of the season, and if that occurs, then it's an opportunity for Ben Bishop," Blues general manager Doug Armstrong said. "If it doesn't occur, then we'll adjust to the situation."

It appears that Jaroslav Halak (bruised hand) is close to returning to the active lineup. He was placed on injured reserve retroactive to Feb. 14 and can come off at any time. He has missed six games in a row and eight of the last 12.

"Obviously we expect him to be back soon," Armstrong said of Halak. "All indications are that he's getting closer."

If Conklin is claimed, then Halak and Bishop will be the goaltending tandem for the rest of the season, but if Conklin goes unclaimed, it's unknown if the Blues will keep him here with the parent club or send him to their American Hockey League affiliate in Peoria.

"We're not going to speculate on what will happen on Monday," Armstrong said.

Bishop is expected to get the start Sunday in Calgary, and the two teams will face one another again here on Tuesday.

The trade deadline is set for Monday at 2 p.m. central time.

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