Detroit Red Wings: Alex Nedeljkovic already finding his footing in AHL

Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports
Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports /

The Detroit Red Wings have been shuffling their roster around over the past week. Partially due to the return of players from Injured Reserve (IR) and the management of goalies with three on the roster.

This meant someone had to go down to the Grand Rapids Griffins’ AHL roster. The Detroit Red Wings opted to send netminder Alex Nedeljkovic down to the minors. After the start to the season that he has had, it should not be a major shock to anyone.

Nedeljkovic has struggled to find his place in the crease this season. It’s been a string of rough outings for the 27-year-old. Granted, the last time he was in the net for the Red Wings was December 8th when the Florida Panthers tagged him for five goals on 41 shots.

The team brought in netminder Magnus Hellberg which also called for a decrease in playing time for Nedeljkovic, but the most recent move was to send him down to Grand Rapids on a conditioning loan. A move that has treated him well so far.

Detroit Red Wings goalie Alex Nedeljkovic is finding his footing in the AHL.

Nedeljkovic may not have the biggest sample size, as he just recently got to the Griffins’ roster, but he has done a good job settling in. He’s showing that he’s making the most of this conditioning stint and getting back on top of his game.

Before the demotion, Nedeljkovic had played in nine games for the Red Wings during the 2022-23 season. He has played to a 2-4-2 record with a 4.09 goals-against average, and a .880 save percentage.

They’re pretty forgettable numbers. Numbers that could quickly get in his head and cause the bad starts to keep piling up. It’s got to be part of why the Red Wings are trying to shake things up with Nedeljkovic.

Red Wings head coach Derek Lalonde noted that the team has not given up on him. This stint in the minors was meant for him to get back on track and be able to be on top of his game once again.

His first two starts with the Griffins to this point have been solid. He has registered back-to-back wins in net, allowing just three goals on 62 shots faced. Even in a limited sample size, the 1.59 goals-against average looks much better than the 4.09 measure he has with the Red Wings.

Goalies are weird. They’re like left-handed pitchers in baseball. They can be quirky. Goaltending can be a very mentally tasking position.

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For Nedeljkovic, this stint in Grand Rapids might be precisely what he needs to hit the reset button and return to the netminder that many Red Wings fans have come to enjoy watching.