Five key players that Yzerman could trade at the deadline

Steve Yzerman. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Steve Yzerman. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
3 of 5

Alex Nedeljkovic

After being traded from Carolina to Detroit last summer, Alex Nedeljkovic is now the #1 goaltender for the Red Wings.  After being a Calder Trophy finalist last year, everyone expected Nedeljkovic to be one of the missing pieces that could help accelerate Detroit’s rebuild.

Nedeljkovic started out terrific while splitting games with Thomas Greiss.  When Greiss missed 13 games in January and early February, Nedeljkovic played virtually every night.  This took a toll on him and Nedeljkovic has struggled to regain the form he had earlier in the season.

Why a trade makes sense: Similar to Larkin and Bertuzzi, Nedeljkovic has one year remaining on his current contract, and with a cap hit of $3.0M annually.  Nedeljkovic will be an UFA at the end of 2023, meaning that he can leave Detroit and the Red Wings will not receive any compensation.

Trading Nedeljkovic may not be what fans want to hear, but it may be unavoidable if Nedeljkovic is difficult to sign to an extension.  There will always be free agent veteran goalies that become UFA’s and Detroit drafted Sebastian Cossa in the 1st round of the draft last summer.  Cossa will likely not be ready to play in the NHL next year, but he could be fast-tracked if there is an opening.  Detroit also have veteran European goaltender Joren van Pottelberghe who is rumored to be signing with the Red Wings before next season.

Nedeljkovic could fetch a king’s ransom with the right trading partner and so Yzerman will likely listen to all offers for the young goaltender.

Why a trade doesn’t make sense: Nedeljkovic just turned 26 and could be the veteran presence that a young Cossa could learn from.  Even though Nedeljkovic is going to be an UFA after next year, signing him to an affordable contract shouldn’t be difficult.  Keeping Nedeljkovic provides stability in the most important position in hockey.  Nedeljkovic started his junior hockey career in Michigan and appears to want to remain with the Red Wings.