Less than a week ago, the Detroit Red Wings goaltending future was looking pretty bleak and hopeless. But, General Manager Steve Yzerman did some Steve Yzerman-like things, and now the organization has its goaltending situation in order.
They have a few goalies in the pipeline, but the one who was the closest to joining the AHL/NHL levels is rumored to be refusing a contract and opting to go to free agency as his draft rights expire this summer.
There’s another goalie who’s at the NCAA level with Colgate University, Carter Gylander, who has plenty to like about him, but he’s still a year or two from testing the waters of the AHL/NHL level. But that’s no worry because the organization is in good hands now.
Going into the season, the way things stood was going to be Thomas Greiss, who is signed through the 2021-22 season for $3.6 million, and pending unrestricted free agent Jonathan Bernier who likely would have been re-signed.
The Detroit Red Wings have changed a lot in less than a week.
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Before the 2021 NHL Entry Draft even kicked off, Yzerman worked his magic to go out and fleece the Carolina Hurricanes organization.
He would send Jonathan Bernier and a 2021 third-round pick to Carolina in exchange for Calder trophy finalist Alex Nedeljkovic.
The organization then promptly got Nedeljkovic to agree to a two-year, $3 million contract with the club to be one of the team’s netminders.
Boom, there’s a temporary fix for now. While Nedeljkovic seems like he may be around a bit longer than his current two-year deal, it was a great get for Yzerman.
Nedeljkovic played in 23 games in 2020-21, where he was 15-5-3 with a .932 save-percentage (SV%), a 1.90 goals-against average (GAA), and three shutouts to his credit.
He’s a phenomenal get for the organization. Nedeljkovic even seems pumped to be joining the team as he should be. It’s going to be an impeccable opportunity for the 25-year old netminder.
However, the Detroit Red Wings did not stop there.
When the draft came along, Yzerman continued to do Yzerman-like things by executing a trade with the team’s spare first-round pick from Washington in the blockbuster Anthony Mantha trade. Yzerman shipped the team’s second first and another pick to move up to the fifteenth overall draft selection.
At fifteenth overall in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft, the Red Wings would select Sebastian Cossa, who former Red Wings netminder Chris Osgood highly recommended. Cossa would be the first goalie off the board, even ahead of Swedish goalie Jesper Wallstedt who seemed like the consensus first goalie to be off the board by most.
Cossa had incredible stats in the WHL in 2020-21, where he played 19 games and had a 17-1-1 record. He posted a 1.57 GAA and a .941 SV% while also collecting four shutouts. Needless to say, he should be fun to watch in the coming years as he continues to develop and possibly be the team’s future netminder.
It’s pretty clear that Yzerman knows the importance of a lights-out goalie after seeing what Andrei Vasilevskiy is doing with the Tampa Bay Lightning. The hope should be that the recent changes will bring good things to Detroit’s future goalies.
It’s been a quick few days, and things have drastically changed in the crease for the Detroit Red Wings, but it’s been a flurry of exciting and good changes.