Alex Nedeljkovic not particularly sharp in Detroit Red Wings’ exhibition loss to Chicago

Detroit Free Press

The Detroit Red Wings had their first look at some of their new players, and hopeful prospects.

The younger set on display Wednesday in an exhibition match against the Chicago Blackhawks included Simon Edvinsson and Elmer Soderblom; the new-look veterans included David Perron and Ben Chiarot.

The Wings got a pair of goals from Adam Erne but fell, 4-2, giving up an empty-net goal in the final minute.

It was the second preseason game for the Wings and first for Alex Nedeljkovic, who gave up two goals on the first three shots against a Blackhawks group very light on NHLers. But that’s what these eight games are for: Preparing for the Oct. 14 opener.

More:Next big test for Detroit Red Wings’ Simon Edvinsson: Have a huge exhibition season

Soderblom v. Soderblom

It’s been a good start to preseason for Soderblom. He scored Tuesday, and earned an assist less than two minutes into his second game. Soderblom was battling down low when he got his stick on the puck and angled the puck on net. Chicago goalie Arvid Soderblom — Elmer’s older brother — made the save, but Erne swooped in and connected on the rebound. Soderblom got top-six minutes and was out on the power play, a clear sign the Wings are giving the 6-foot-8 draft pick from 2019 every opportunity to earn a spot. Edvinsson, drafted No. 6 last year, had a rougher night, picking up a couple penalties.

More:At Steve Yzerman’s request, Elmer Soderblom gets big look with Detroit Red Wings

Erne’s outlook

Erne scored again a minute into the second period, off a feed from Pius Suter, who centered Erne and Soderblom. Erne is entering the last year of a two-year, $4.2 million contract, but though he’s signed he is fighting for a job. Erne had just six goals last season, after scoring 11 in 2021. He’s vulnerable to competition from, among other, Soderblom. Erne may be helped by the fact Oskar Sundqvist, a bottom-six grinder type, has yet to practice because of an undisclosed injury.

Goalie rotation

As planned, the Wings changed goaltenders during a timeout near the midpoint of the game. Nedeljkovic allowed two goals on 10 shots, in 31:56 minutes. He’s trying to establish that he should be the starter. He was replaced by Jussi Olkinuora, who is earmarked for the Grand Rapids Griffins. Ville Husso, acquired via trade during the offseason, is projected to get his first take of the preseason Friday when the Wings host the Washington Capitals. Olkinuora gave up a goal shortly after entering the game, when Jujhar Khaira converted on a power play while Edvinsson served time for delay of game.

Alec Regula earned an assist; the name should ring a bell because he’s the son of former Wings team dentist Dr. Chet Regula, and was drafted by the Wings in 2018. General manager Steve Yzerman traded Regula to the Blackhawks in October 2019 for Brendan Perlini.

Contact Helene St. James at hstjames@freepress.com. Follow her on Twitter @helenestjames. Read more on the Detroit Red Wings and sign up for our Red Wings newsletter. Her latest book, On the Clock: Behind the Scenes with the Detroit Red Wings at the NHL Draft is available from  Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Triumph Books. Personalized copies available via her e-mail.

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