Detroit Red Wings recall G Magnus Hellberg. What this means for week ahead

Detroit Free Press

The Detroit Red Wings will be three goaltenders deep as they begin a week that is at both light and compact.

Magnus Hellberg was recalled Sunday evening from a stint in the minors. Hellberg went 2-2-0 in four games with the Grand Rapids Griffins, posting a 2.50 goals-against average and a 0.932 save percentage. The Wings claimed Hellberg, 31, off waivers in November, taking advantage of having the roster and salary cap space to arry three goaltenders.

The Wings next play Tuesday at Little Caesars Arena against the Carolina Hurricanes, one of just three games on the slate this week. But the game after that comes Wednesday at the Minnesota Wild, and while the Wings did play Ville Husso in back-to-back games earlier this month, common practice is to use two goaltenders. The only other game on the slate this week is Saturday vs. the Ottawa Senators.

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The Wings are in a tough spot because Alex Nedeljkovic has been struggling, allowing at least four goals in his last three starts and in six of eight starts this season. He had a good start in his last game, Dec. 8 at the Florida Panthers, but then when he allowed one goal, another soon followed. The Panthers scored two goals inside a minute two times in the second period, and that doomed the Wings.

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Coach Derek Lalonde said after the 5-1 loss that “Nedo wasn’t the problem,” and Nedeljkovic’s teammates did play poorly in front of him. At the time, Lalonde also said there had been no discussions regarding Hellberg. (The Wings were off Sunday, after banking five of a possible eight points during the trip.)

Hellberg spent about a month with the Wings near the end of last season, when Thomas Greiss was struggling and/or unavailable because of injury, and Nedeljkovic was carrying the workload. Hellberg won his only appearance, in the season finale. He signed a one-year, $750,000 deal with the Seattle Kraken last summer, started the season with them, was waived and claimed by the Ottawa Senators, who ended up placing him back on waivers, where he was reclaimed by the Kraken before again landing on waivers.

Hellberg has played one NHL game this season, posting a victory with a 2.00 GAA and .935 save percentage. He has appeared in just six career NHL games, going 3-3 with a 2.60 GAA and .891 save percentage.

Contact Helene St. James at 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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