Detroit Red Wings: Alex Nedeljkovic will be on Calder Trophy watch

(James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports)
(James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Detroit Red Wings made a splash this offseason when they traded for netminder Alex Nedeljkovic. He was acquired in a deal that truly fleeced the Carolina Hurricanes and brought Detroit a new hope for the goaltender position, for now.

As the Detroit Red Wings continued with their offseason, they opted to lock down Nedeljkovic on a two-year, $3 million contract extension with the organization. Something that has somewhat flown under the radar was the fact that Nedeljkovic was in the conversation for the Rookie of the Year award in the 2020-21 season.

As Bob Duff of Detroit Hockey Now pointed out in a recent article, Nedeljkovic fits the criteria to be eligible for the Calder Trophy in 2021-22. That being said, Nedeljkovic is someone that the Red Wings should be incredibly excited about going into this year.

Usually, the rookie of the year tag and Detroit Red Wings is going to lead to a conversation about Moritz Seider or Lucas Raymond. But Nedeljkovic needs to be included and is more than deserving of being in this conversation.

Detroit Red Wings netminder Alex Nedeljkovic is in the Calder conversation.

More from Detroit Jock City

Very technically speaking, Nedeljkovic is heading into his fifth season, where he will play games in the NHL; the catch is how little he has played in those previous four seasons. In his first three seasons in the NHL, Nedeljkovic played in all of six games for the Hurricanes.

So, in reality, the 2020-21 season was Nedeljkovic’s first season in the NHL as a netminder. He may have only logged 23 games, but he put up phenomenal numbers while keeping himself eligible for the Calder this upcoming season.

Last year, Nedeljkovic played to a 15-5-3 record while having a .932 save percentage with a 1.90 goals-against average.

He also grabbed three shutouts on the season as well. With his new home crowd, Nedeljkovic is likely going to be given the opportunity to start more often than not.

Coming off such a strong season, the majority opinion would probably be he will beat out Thomas Greiss for the starting job. The two may play a nice tandem act out in 2021-22, but the expectation is likely to be Nedeljkovic will be looked to as the “starter” or the “1A” guy.

He deserves it too, after the season he had, he should be trotted out and expected to perform at a high level once again. While the Red Wings are far from the Hurricanes offensively, he should still be solid in the crease.

Hot. Detroit Red Wings: Jersey ads coming in 2022-23 is criminal. light

Given this, as the 2021-22 season plays out, Nedeljkovic is going to be aiming to keep himself in the Calder Trophy conversation, and he’ll likely be on watch all year long.