The Detroit Red Wings have placed goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic on waivers.
If prior to the start of the season, you would have said the Detroit Red Wings would place forward Jakub Vrana and Alex Nedeljkovic on waivers during the season, I would have called you crazy.
Detroit Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman is ruthless. Don’t take that description in a negative context. Yzerman will do whatever he believes is the best thing for the franchise he’s running; he’s proven this time and time again.
Shortly after arriving in Tampa Bay, Yzerman elected to buy out Vincent Lecavalier’s lucrative deal back in 2013. The Lightning captain had seven years left on his deal worth $ 45 million.
Just look what Yzerman had to say about his decision at the time;
"“After much internal deliberation, we believe this will prove to be a pivotal move for us as we strive to achieve our long term goal of competing at the highest level, year-in, year-out. The economics and structure of the CBA are necessitating this decision and we at the Lightning are excited at the newly created opportunities this presents to us.”"
That first line says it all. I am convinced that every single one of Yzerman’s decisions is calculated and has the team’s long-term success in mind, even if it feels like an ‘interesting’ decision. So, with both shocking waiver decisions, all we can do is trust the YzerPlan.
Earlier this year, the Red Wings claimed goaltender Magnus Hellberg, 31, off waivers from the Seattle Kraken as Nedeljkovic continued to struggle in his opportunities to spell starter Ville Husso.
Nedeljkovic provided the Red Wings with a 2-4-2 record to go with a 4.09 goals-against average and a 0.880 save percentage over nine appearances this season. This is very disappointing, considering the 27-year-old played as Detroit’s top netminder a season ago, splitting time with veteran Thomas Greiss. Nedeljkovic appeared in 59 games for the Red Wings, going 20-24-9 with a 0.901 save percentage and a 3.31 goals-against average.
The Detroit Red Wings sent Nedeljkovic down to Grand Rapids on a conditioning stint. He performed exceptionally well, posting a 2.30 goals-against average and a 0.920 save percentage over his six starts. All signs pointed towards a return to Detroit to try and win the backup role back, but clearly, the Red Wings are comfortable with how Hellberg has performed in his limited work.
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Hopefully, Nedeljkovic clears waivers and gets an opportunity to remain with the Griffins. Yzerman likely exhausted the trade market before making this decision, but perhaps someone will look to add a backup netminder with an upside looking for a fresh start.