Detroit Red Wings assign struggling goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic to minors

Detroit Free Press

The Detroit Red Wings have taken advantage of carrying three goaltenders to assign Alex Nedeljkovic to the minors.

It’s a chance for Nedeljkovic, who has not played for the Wings in nearly a month, to get back to the form that prompted the Wings to acquire him in the summer of 2021, and won him last season’s starter job.

This season has been rough; Nedeljkovic is 2-4-2 in nine games with a 4.09 goals-against average and a 0.880 save percentage.

Going to the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins gives Nedeljkovic a chance to work his way out of his slump at a lower level of hockey.

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Nedeljkovic, who turns 27 on Saturday, last played for the Wings on Dec. 8 in Florida, when he allowed five goals on 41 shots. He spoke postgame about his struggles after giving up at least four goals for a third straight start.

“I think that’s just what it is lately,” Nedeljkovic said in the visitors locker room at FLA Live Arena. “It’s been one goes in, it’s followed by another and then another. I think that’s every game now — except for in New York and the first Jersey game, I’ve given up four, at least. It’s been tough.”

The Wings have the luxury to send Nedeljkovic to the minors because they claimed Magnus Hellberg off waivers in November, taking advantage of having the roster space to carry three goaltenders. Nedeljkovic still counts against the 23-man roster while in Grand Rapids.

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Nedeljkovic is in the final year of his contract. He had a 3.31 GAA and .901 save percentage in 59 games (52 starts) last season, when he had to carry most of the load because Thomas Greiss played poorly. The Wings let Greiss go after the season ended, and general manager Steve Yzerman acquired Ville Husso, who took about two weeks to emerge as the starter this season.

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