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Red Wings Fleece Hurricanes in Trade for Alex Nedeljkovic

The Red Wings acquired Alex Nedeljkovic in exchange for Jonathan Bernier and a 3rd-round pick at the 2021 draft from the Hurricanes.

A fairly surprising trade took place in the NHL today, as the Detroit Red Wings acquired goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic from the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for another goaltender in Jonathan Bernier and a third-round pick at the 2021 draft.

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This trade was apparently made due to the fact that the Hurricanes and Nedeljkovic couldn’t come to terms on a new contract, as the 25-year-old is set to become a restricted free agent this offseason. Shortly after the trade was done, he signed what most are viewing as a very fair two-year, $6 million deal with the Red Wings. “We’re in a win-now mode, and having a veteran goalie makes the most sense for our franchise right now.” GM Don Waddell said of the deal.

Despite starting the season on waivers, Nedeljkovic surprised many and quickly became the Hurricanes go to goaltender for the vast majority of the season. In 23 games played, he registered a very impressive 1.90 goals against average (GAA) along with a .932 save percentage (SV%) and a 15-5-3 record. The great numbers were good enough to earn him a Calder Trophy nomination, though the award was given to Minnesota Wild forward Kirill Kaprizov.

Going the other way is Jonathan Bernier, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. Whether or not the Hurricanes are able to sign the 32-year-old remains to be seen, but he has certainly impressed in Detroit the past few seasons. Despite playing behind a very weak roster, Bernier had a very solid 2020-21 season, posting a 2.99 GAA along with a .914 SV% and a 9-11-1 record. He will garner plenty of interest from other teams in free agency if he isn’t able to get a deal worked out with the Hurricanes.

Fan Reaction

The general consensus from this trade is that Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman fleeced the Hurricanes, as he has done plenty of times in both Detroit as well as when he was with the Tampa Bay Lightning. Nedeljkovic proved this season he has a very high ceiling, which is why acquiring him for a league average goaltender in Bernier and just a third-round pick seems like a very underwhelming return.

Shortly after this trade was made, reports came out that the Hurricanes weren’t interested in offering Nedeljkovic more than $1.5 million per season. In one sense, you can understand this move considering he only has 38 NHL games under his belt, but with how he played this season he seems like a pretty safe bet moving forward, especially considering he went on to sign for a cap hit of just $3 million. Time will tell on this deal, but this seems like an extremely low risk, high reward move for Yzerman and the Red Wings.

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