Alex Nedeljkovic has not been the goalie the Detroit Red Wings expected

(Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)
(Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Detroit Red Wings pulled off a great deal with the Carolina Hurricanes to acquire a new goaltender. They scooped up Alex Nedeljkovic in a deal that was viewed as fleecing the Hurricanes, and it was still a clear win for the Red Wings, but it’s less of a fleecing now’s for sure.

Coming into the 2021-22 season, the Detroit Red Wings had three players who would be in the running for the Calder Trophy by the end of the season. Nedeljkovic was one of them, and now, it’s Lucas Raymond and Moritz Seider who are in that race, and Nedeljkovic is trying to get back on track.

He has not been super consistent for the Red Wings and has had some days where he looks like the Red Wings need a solution and need it fast. The bottom line for the team is that they want to start competing next year.

This year was a step in the right direction, they’re looking to finish strong, and Nedeljkovic needs to improve to prove he can be the true starter. However, the team did invest in their future netminder with Sebastian Cossa, who was selected in the first round of the 2021 NHL Entry Draft after the team acquired a pick from the Dallas Stars.

Nedeljkovic is not in danger of losing his job right now, but as Cossa matures and gets closer to getting to the NHL level, Nedeljkovic may take a backseat role. Not to mention, Nedeljkovic is under contract through the 2022-23 season; if he does not find a way to be more consistent, he may not be welcomed back.

Detroit Red Wings netminder Alex Nedeljkovic needs to iron things out.

In 2021-22, Nedeljkovic has logged 49 games for the Red Wings, where he has played to a 17-20-7 record with a .901 save percentage and a 3.26 goals-against average. It has not been exactly what the Red Wings are looking for.

While the team has seen much worse in recent years, the Red Wings have to expect better from the 26-year-old netminder if he wants to be kept around for the long haul. He’s still got plenty of upside but has to figure some things out.

One of the issues lately seems to be consistency. He’s just been inconsistent overall for the Red Wings, and if he can iron that out, things will change drastically. In the future, maybe a true starter role is not for him, and a platoon role is better.

In due time, the Red Wings will figure this out. If Cossa is destined to be the future starter (hopefully), then maybe the organization simply has to keep Nedeljkovic around in a platoon role. It’s not to say that the Red Wings should give up on him, but he’s got to get some things worked out before he proves he can be the team’s go-to moving forward.

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He’s got the rest of the 2021-22 season to iron things out and the 2022-23 season before he’s a free agent, and the Red Wings need to make a choice. Hopefully, he can get things worked out and keep the Red Wings in a good spot moving forward when it comes to their goaltending.