Hockey

Alex Nedeljkovic: A Possible Solution for the Carolina Hurricanes at 25-Years-Old

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Alex Nedeljkovic is a 25-year-old goalie from Ohio, who was drafted to the Carolina Hurricanes in 2014, going 37th overall. Since then, Nedeljkovic has spent the majority of his time playing in the AHL, after completing his tenure in the OHL with the Niagara Ice Dogs. He has made 154 appearances total in the AHL, helping his side to win 89 of those games. Nedeljkovic has been continually improving, and with the injury of Hurricanes’ starting goalie, Petr Mrazek, Nedeljkovic saw his chance to come into the NHL.

Originally, Nedeljkovic had been placed in the backup position, with James Reimer starting. Reimer, however, is a grizzled veteran and is less likely to play games back to back considering his advancing age. As such, Nedeljkovic was rotated into the starter position, where he began to shine. In 11 games in net, Nedeljkovic has managed to put up two shutouts, as well as helping his team to win seven of those 11 games.

In comparison, Tampa Bay Lightning goalie, Andrei Vasilevsky, has played 14 more games this season, and only managed three shutouts. While Vasilevsky’s team is currently leading the league in points, the performances of him and Nedeljkovic are comparable, with both saving around 93% of the shots they face.

This raises the question, could Alex Nedeljkovic be what the Hurricanes need in net? His current performances are easily comparable to some of the best goalies in the league, while still having plenty of time to develop in his career. The two other Carolina goalies Reimer and Mrazek both have their issues in net, with Mrazek having looked shaky before his injury, and Reimer being unlikely to be able to put up amazing performances night-after-night due to his age. As well, Mrazek is unlikely to come back to the game anytime soon, after having received surgery on his thumb, and it is unknown if he would ever return to good form when he does return to play.

Alex Nedeljkovic Stats and Accomplishments

If Alex Nedeljkovic is to be the next starting goalie for the Hurricanes, a look at his past stats will help to instill any fan with some confidence. During his career with the Hurricanes organization, Nedeljkovic has maintained an overall average of three goals against, not being scored on during his first game in the NHL. As well, Nedeljkovic has maintained an average save percentage of 93%, matching his current save percentage in the 2020-21 NHL season.

Nedeljkovic was the starting goalie for the Charlotte Checkers, before the Hurricanes separated from the organization, during their 2018-2019 AHL Calder Cup-winning series, maintaining one shutout during his 15 games in the playoffs, as well as helping his team win ten of their games during the series. As well, in 2013-2014 he was a part of the U18 World Junior Championship American team, maintaining the best goals-against average, picking up a gold medal, and being named one of the top three players on the team.

Nedeljkovic also holds a strange feat for a goalie, having scored a goal in the AHL during the 2017-2018 season, a feat only achieved by 13 other players, with the only other one currently in the NHL being Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Tristan Jarry. In the current NHL season, Nedeljkovic has outperformed his Pittsburgh counterpart, with Jarry averaging nearly three goals against per game, and through 22 he has yet to post a shut out.

It can already be seen that Alex Nedeljkovic is having an amazing season, and if this form can continue, as his prior performances have shown they might, Nedeljkovic could become a long-term solution for the Hurricanes. As he continues to play, Nedeljkovic will certainly be an interesting player to keep an eye on whether you are a fan of the Hurricanes or not. For more Hurricanes news click here.

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