Detroit Red Wings: Alex Nedeljkovic sputtering out of the gate in 2021-22

(Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports)
(Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Detroit Red Wings have a new netminder in the crease in 2021-22. In a fleecing of a trade, the Red Wings acquired Alex Nedeljkovic from the Carolina Hurricanes, who replaced Jonathan Bernier in the tandem with Thomas Greiss.

Immediately after Nedeljkovic was acquired, he was given a two-year deal to play in Hockeytown. The Detroit Red Wings obviously see something exciting, so his sputters and struggles out of the gate in 2021-22 should not worry many.

After all, Nedeljkovic was listed in pre-season Calder Trophy watch after finishing in the top three for the award last season. Water will find its level, and Nedeljkovic should likely be able to settle in as he gets some more games under his belt.

He’s played just four games so far, so the sample size is not the largest, but with some early-season struggles, some fans may jump to extremes. Let’s just hold the phone and keep the hand above the panic button. This year is about turning a corner, not winning the Stanley Cup; the team looks a lot better, so there’s no reason to worry quite yet.

Detroit Red Wings goalie Alex Nedeljkovic is settling in slowly.

As mentioned early on, Nedeljkovic has been between the pipes for just four games in this young season. He’s got a 1-1-1 record which means almost nothing; it’s the further look at the stats that may worry some extremists.

Nedeljkovic carries a 3.40 goals-against average, and a .897 save percentage. All told, this is not horrible, but it may not be exactly what the Red Wings faithful were expecting out of a netminder who looked incredibly steady when he was played in Carolina last season.

However, Red Wings fans could feel like Chicago Blackhawks fans who might be waiting with pitchforks after Marc-Andre Fleury has yet to record a win in his new home. Fleury’s goals-against average is nearing six, and his save percentage stands at .839 through his first four games played.

Now that, that would be permissible for fans to start hammering the panic button. But, Nedeljkovic got off to a rough start in his first game, where the Tampa Bay Lightning found the back of the net six times.

He has settled in a little better game by game, but even with a start that some may have hoped went better, Nedeljkovic will be fine. He’s going to be a solid addition to this Red Wings roster and help this team turn a corner on the rebuild.

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Who knows, he may go on a tear this year as the season progresses and rival Lucas Raymond and Moritz Seider in Calder Trophy voting.