Detroit Red Wings G Alex Nedeljkovic clears waivers, opens roster spot in Detroit

Detroit Free Press

DENVER — Goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic will remain in the Detroit Red Wings‘ system after clearing waivers.

General manager Steve Yzerman placed Nedeljkovic on waivers Sunday, and no team put in a claim for him by Monday’s 2 p.m. deadline. While Nedeljkovic stays on the payroll, it enabled the Wings to assign him to the minors, which removed Nedeljkovic from the 23-man roster.

Nedeljkovic carries a $3 million salary cap hit in what is the last year of his contract, and has struggled to show he belongs in the NHL this season. He last played for the Wings on Dec. 8 at the Florida Panthers, and with that 5-1 loss, Nedeljkovic had a 2-4-2 record with a 4.09 goals-against average and .880 save percentage.

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Nedeljkovic, 27, lost his backup job to Magnus Hellberg, who was claimed off waivers in November. Hellberg doesn’t have great numbers — he’s 2-3-0 with a 2.81 GAA and .896 save percentage with the Wings — but he only carries a $750,000 salary cap hit, and would almost certainly have been claimed had he been exposed.

The upside to Nedeljkovic staying is he has stabilized goaltending with the Grand Rapids Griffins. In six games during a conditioning stint that began Jan. 4, Nedeljkovic is 3-2-1 with a 2.30 GAA and .920 save percentage.

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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