Red Wings Top 10 Question Marks Heading Into the Off-Season

Jeff Blashill. Former Red Wings head coach. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Jeff Blashill. Former Red Wings head coach. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /
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Detroit Red Wings
Alex Nedeljkovic of the Detroit Red Wings. Mandatory Credit: Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports /

Is Alex Nedeljkovic The Red Wings Ride or Die Goalie?

The Detroit Red Wings organization traded for their current goalie, Alex Nedeljkovic, last season from the Carolina Hurricanes. After Nedeljkovic really found his footing, and even made a run for the Calder, the Red Wings couldn’t resist the opportunity to go grab him on the trade block. But, is he the goalie they want to ride with in the coming seasons?

Alex Nedeljkovic is under contract for one more year, and is set to make $3,000,000. Now, they do have a very talented goalie in Sebastian Cossa, but it’s doubtful that he’ll be ready this season.

When looking at the goalies around the league, there are not many goalies that have come in year one and done well. Marc-Andre Fleury took a couple years before he really started performing to his hall-of-fame caliber. Same with goalies like Carey Price, and Ben Bishop.

All three of those names have had very good careers, but they didn’t start off that way. The reasoning behind that is the fact that goalies take awhile to develop. Getting quicker in the crease, reading the offense, breaking down their style of play, it’s hard to come in year one and recognzie all of these things. So, with that being said, they will more than likely not have Cossa this season.

That being said, Nedeljkovic will more than likely be manning the net for this upcoming season. Or will he?

There are a lot of talented goalies out there right now that are looking for a new start. Marc-Andre Fleury is a free agent, Braden Holtby is a free agent, Ville Husso is a free agent, and many more. This goalie free agent class is very, very, very deep.

Alex Nedeljkovic, as much as I’d like to say he has earned his starting spot- hasn’t. He didn’t perform great last season. Well, outside of the last couple games, he didn’t really perform great. And yes, I understand that it wasn’t all on him. However, as a goalie on a real contract, you have to be able to make some of the routine saves that he was letting in. So here’s my thoughts on Nedeljkovic.

Alex Nedeljkovic had a lot of struggles this past season. From making terrific saves to keep the Red Wings in the game, or being the reason why they were down 5-0, it’s been hard to really figure out who he is as a goalie and where to go from here.

I mean, it’s really hard to say that his bad performances this season have been on him, because well let’s face it, the defense is not great. I mean, Seider is phenomonal, and Hronek is still a very good player, but when you look at the big picture, they don’t really have a defense that can lock down an offensive team.

At the same point, you can think back to the time that he scored on himself and well, that was nobody’s fault but his. I mean, that was definetly the worst goal I’ve seen this season… that was hard to watch. It’s just really hard to figure out where the organization want’s to go from here with him. After all, the Red Wings do have Sebastian Cossa coming who has some very high expectations.

So, getting back to talking about Nedeljkovic, I took the liberty of looking at his splits and here is what I was able to gather from it:

By Month

October: 5 games played, 3.27 GAA, .900 SV%

Novemeber: 10 games played, 2.24 GAA, .934 SV%

Decemeber: 6 games played, 3.30 GAA, .899 SV%

Janurary: 12 games played, 3.10 GAA, .899 SV%

February: 4 games played, 5.27 GAA, .845 SV%

March: 13 games played, 3.78 GAA, .891 SV%

April: 3 games played, 3.96 GAA, .895 SV%

Road vs Home

Road: 24 games played, 3.14 GAA, .907 SV%

Away: 29 games played, 3.48 GAA, .895 SV%

Pre All-Star Break vs Post All-Star Break

Pre All-Star Break: 34 games played, 2.90 GAA, .911 SV%

Post All-Star Break: 19 games played, 4.15 GAA, .880 SV%

When you take a look at the stats I have written above, it looks pretty consistent but not in the way that we want. He sat right around a 3.30 GAA, and a .900 save percentage which isn’t great. However, when you take a look at his splits from prior to the all-star break, and then after, it’s almost like he’s a completley different player.

Prior to the all-star break, Alex Nedeljkovic had played in 34 games for the Red Wings. During that stretch, he was able to post a .911 save percentage while only having a 2.90 goals against allowed average. Which, all things considered- that’s pretty respectable in my opinion.

But in contrast to that, you look at his post all-star break stats, and they are not nearly as good.

After returning from the all-star break, Nedeljkovic clearly got worse and hasn’t really bounced back other than maybe a couple games. But there is no excuse for having a 4.15 GAA, and a .880 SV% in 19 games. That’s just not acceptable. Especially when you are looking to leave your mark in this league and with this team.