Steve Yzerman is making quick work following the Seattle expansion draft. Shortly after the trade freeze lifted Thursday afternoon at 1pm, news surfaced that the Red Wings are acquiring goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic from Carolina in exchange for UFA goalie Jonathan Bernier and a 3rd-round draft pick.
Nedeljkovic return is a third and Jonathan Bernier
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) July 22, 2021
Nedeljkovic is coming off an impressive rookie campaign where he finished third in voting for the Calder Trophy. The 25-year-old netminder posted a record of 15-5-3 with a save percentage of .923, and a GAA just south of 2. He also appeared in nine playoff games where he posted similar numbers.
Nedeljkovic is no stranger to Michigan hockey. The former Belle Tire goalie played with the Plymouth Whalers, and then the Flint Firebirds when the team relocated. As it stands now, Nedeljkovic will likely serve as backup to Thomas Greiss, but we could certainly see another 1A/1B situation like we’ve seen in years past. What’s really funny is that Nedeljkovic cleared waivers earlier in the season, so Detroit could have had him for free, but so could have any other team. Also worth noting that he was on waivers before his impressive stat line started to take shape.
I’m chalking this up as a win for Steve Yzerman. Bernier was reportedly going to already test the open UFA market, and Detroit holds multiple 3rd-round selections. With this move, you add a younger goalie who will need to be re-signed, but he’s a restricted free agent. My guess is that Yzerman signs him to a two-to-three year deal. We’re still waiting on contract news, but here’s a ballpark figure:
The ask for Alex Nedeljkovic with #Canes was in the $3.5 million AAV range.
— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) July 22, 2021
Alex Nedeljkovic has agreed to terms on a 2 year contract with Detroit. $3.0M AAV.
— Rich Evans (@Hockeyagent) July 22, 2021