The Detroit Red Wings have found a goaltender. The Red Wings have acquired Alex Nedeljkovic from the Carolina Hurricanes. The Hurricanes will receive Jonathan Bernier and a third-round pick in return. Bernier is a pending unrestricted free agent and has not signed with Carolina at this point.
Nedeljkovic, 25, burst onto the scene in Carolina this season, taking over the net when given the opportunity. After Petr Mrazek went out with injury, Nedeljkovic stepped in and posted a .932 save percentage in 23 games. He continued to play in the postseason for the Hurricanes, registering a .920 in nine appearances, but losing five of the games he played in. Nedeljkovic finished third in Calder Trophy voting as one of the league’s best rookies.
After that breakout performance, Nedeljkovic was set up for a huge raise in restricted free agency. The young goaltender was arbitration-eligible and could have landed a substantial award, something the Hurricanes did not feel comfortable paying. In Detroit, he quickly signed a two-year contract that will carry a cap hit of $3.0MM, which takes him to UFA status following the 2022-23 season. Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic reports that the deal will pay Nedeljkovic $2.5MM in 2021-22 and $3.5MM in 2022-23.
The Hurricanes now have three goaltenders, Bernier, Mrazek and James Reimer, who have all been starters in the past and will become unrestricted free agents on July 28. They do not have any real NHL options in the system, meaning there will be contracts to come at some point.
Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic was first to report the news on Twitter.