Penguins Sign Alex Nedeljkovic to 1-Year Deal

The Pittsburgh Penguins have signed goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic to a one-year contract worth $1.5 million, the team announced Saturday. He played last season with the Detroit Red Wings and struggled a bit. They let him walk to free agency and so now, he will be looking for redemption behind star-studded goaltender Tristan Jarry.

The Penguins are looking to make it back into the playoffs following their first time missing the postseason in 16 seasons, so having two strong goaltenders heading into the 2023-24 season is one way to increase their chances of success in the regular season.

The 27-year-old spent his junior career in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) split between a few teams including the Flint Firebirds, Plymouth Whalers, and Niagara IceDogs. In four seasons split between those teams, he played 191 games posting a 2.88 goals-against average (GAA) and a .918 save percentage (SV%) with an 89-77-20 record. He played six games for Team USA during the 2014-15 season at the World Junior Championship, posting a 1.66 goals-against average and a .943 save percentage.

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The Carolina Hurricanes selected Nedeljkovic in the second round of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft at 37th overall. He spent five seasons with the Hurricanes organization before being traded to the Red Wings after the 2019-20 season. He never really found his confidence with the Red Wings after the trade and finished out his three-year contract in the American Hockey League (AHL) with the Grand Rapids Griffins.

Alex Nedeljkovic Detroit Red Wings
Alex Nedeljkovic, Detroit Red Wings (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

In 103 total games in the NHL, Nedeljkovic has posted a 2.96 GAA with a .907 SV%. He has a 42-38-15 record to add to that and was a Calder Trophy nominee after his first full season in the NHL, the 2020-21 season. He is coming off his worst season yet, posting a 3.53 GAA and a .895 SV% through 15 games before being sent down to the AHL, where he posted a 2.71 GAA and a .912 SV% through 26 games with the Griffins.

Nedeljkovic’s Fit In Pittsburgh

Nedeljkovic is being brought in as a backup goaltender to Jarry, who has been the Penguins’ go-to goalie for a number of seasons. If Jarry happens to go down with an injury, the Penguins now have a goalie they can trust to step in as a starter and win them some big games. For Nedeljkovic, a lesser role on a short-term contract gives him the opportunity to prove himself and potentially earn a bigger deal and bigger role next offseason.

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The Penguins have a strong team, and with Kyle Dubas within their management team, they can expect some big moves to be made in order to help them get over the hump and back to their winning ways. With their aging core being close to the end of their careers, it’ll be all hands on deck for the next couple of seasons as they try to win their sixth Stanley Cup and their first since 2016.

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