I am a really, really big Ty Conklin fan. Always have been. Always will be. If I were a better person, it would be my greatest character flaw. I'm also a big fan of Finns. Thus, when Kevin Lowe dared to dream of the tandem of Ty Conklin and Jussi Markkanen, I was a big supporter.
I had numbers, too. Here are Conklin's and Markkanen's statistics from the lockout year, and the NHL season directly preceeding it:
2003-04: 17-14-4, 2.42 GAA, .912SV%
2004-05: (DEL) 2.98GAA, .920SV%
Okay, so he played barely at all in Germany, and didn't look so hot, but those 2003-04 numbers are legitimate, right?
2003-04: 10-14-3, 2.40 GAA, .917SV%
2004-05: 31-9-9, 1.20 GAA
Nice numbers both seasons, including a MVP-calibre performance in the Russian Super League during the lockout. And, to make matters even better, Mayor Quimby had posted a .939 SV% for the Roadrunners during the lockout. This group looked like they could, at worst, produce NHL average goaltending.
But things got bad quick. Conklin tried to play through an injury, and looked out of shape to boot, leaving the goaltending duties to Markkanen, who became increasingly shaky as he played more games. Morrison was recalled from the ECHL and somehow managed a 10-4-2 mark despite his .880 SV%. It was a bad season, but not an unreasonable plan. Lowe finally gave up at the trade deadline and acquired Dwayne Roloson from Minnesoat for a 1st round pick, a move that was widely lampooned by commentators. The same commentators wisely refrained from spouting "I told you so"s as Roloson backstopped the team to the Stanley Cup Finals.
Anyway, the point of this was not to hurt Oilers fans with a painful memory of subpar goaltending, but to encourage them for the future. Division rival Colorado is going into 2008-09 with the following tandem:
2006-07: 31-16-6, 2.68GAA, .905SV%
2007-08: 16-10-4, 2.57GAA, .903SV%
2006-07: 37-25-9, 2.99GAA, .894SV%
2007-08: 2-9-5, 3.92GAA, .876SV%
and this guy as number three:
2006-07: (AHL) 27-22-3, 2.99GAA, .905SV%
2007-08: (AHL) 9-19-1, 3.32GAA, .903SV%
And somehow, Ray Emery was banished to Russia.
Anyways, we'll see how this works out for the Avs this fall and possibly winter, but it doesn't matter. We know how this story ends.