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Thoughts On The Wings

from Max Bultman of The Athletic,

Here are 10 thoughts on Nedeljkovic, where Detroit sits at the season’s midpoint, and some potential big decisions on the horizon.

- Nedeljkovic has been the Red Wings’ No. 1 for a while now, but Jeff Blashill made clear just how highly he thinks of Nedeljkovic on Sunday.

“Through the course of this season, he’s had a number of moments where I think he’s looked like a guy who can really be an elite goaltender in this league,” Blashill said.

He immediately followed that statement by talking about how hard that status is to prove, and about the ebb-and-flow nature of the position. By definition, it’s really hard to be elite, and it’s even harder to be at that level consistently. Blashill is smart to include that caveat when he uses that word for that reason. But it’s notable enough that he used it at all, even if speaking primarily about potential.

- So far, though, Nedeljkovic’s numbers do indeed put him on the doorstep of that level....

- So, here’s a reality check. Despite being the Eastern Conference’s ninth-place team, the Red Wings’ mathematical path to the postseason is already virtually non-existent. In the NHL’s last five full (82-game) seasons, the final wild-card team in the East finished with somewhere between 95 and 98 points. If that 98 number held up this year, Detroit would need to amass 57 points over their final 42 games — a number that, by points percentage, is better than the first halves (so far) of Washington, Boston and Pittsburgh.

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jhpcarrier97's avatar

I believe that goaltending is more important today, I look around the league at the goalies and the teams with first line goaltenders are the great teams. Florida-Bob,  TB-Vas Carolina-Andy, Toronto-Campbell.  Now you have to look at the back-up to make predictions, like Det. with Ned, we are not seeing Griess as much but he would be a great backup for a team looking at the finals.  I think if Ned was still in Carolina they would still be where they are right now.
Ned has a few flaws that can be worked out with experience, 1.  he gets caught out of the net on occasion, like every goalie, he can cut these down by NHL experience, better decisions. 2. like every goalie, he allows the old stinker, mostly long shots.  Other than cleaning up those two areas I believe he is elite.  If there was a category for most highlight reel saves, I think he would be a top 5, 10 for sure.  He is a keeper for a Cup final some day.

Posted by jhpcarrier97 on 01/18/22 at 01:28 PM ET


Given that we had nothing in terms of prospects at that position, I feel like Stevie pulled a rabbit out of a hat. Literally.

And he should still be a Wing when we resume contending.

Posted by pnwwing on 01/18/22 at 02:14 PM ET

Steeb's avatar

Posted by pnwwing

...and when Cossa is reaching the point where he’ll be NHL ready (or not), and we should have some healthy competition in net about the time we’re ready to make some playoff noise.

Posted by Steeb on 01/18/22 at 02:29 PM ET


I’m thrilled to have Cossa on the organization- can never have too many goalies in the organization. If so, trade some!

Posted by pnwwing on 01/18/22 at 03:01 PM ET

d ca's avatar

(Concerning Nedeljkovic’s stellar play)...

Even after dominating the Sabres on Saturday, the Red Wings entered Monday with the lowest expected goals for percentage in the league since Nov. 30 at 40.25 percent, according to Evolving Hockey. And the root causes were at both ends of the ice. Since that date, Detroit entered Monday giving up 2.9 expected goals against per 60 minutes — fourth-worst in the league in that span — and was third-worst in the league in terms of expected goals for per 60 at just 1.95. The Red Wings’ record certainly wasn’t good in that span, but at 7-8-2, it didn’t tell the honest story of their play, either.

If the Wings don’t sell off assets despite where they are in the standings it will be a mistake as the underlying metrics tell the picture of which way the team is headed. A goalie can make a huge difference, but it is a lot to ask.

BTW….Nedeljkovic is not getting enough Calder credit this year….
Cossa’s going to (hopefully) take 4 years to be NHL #1 starter ready.

1) age. He just turned 19. Even elite goalies don’t get #1 NHL jobs until they are 21.

2) His 3 WHL seasons were not full seasons because of COVID.  He’s got 77 games so far. He was unable to play in the World Jr’s because of cancellation.

...but compare that to Carey Price who played 63 games in one season in the WHL (and 193 overall playing in 4+ seasons—4 full seasons and 1 game in a 5th season). Price also played in the World Jr’s. Then started his age 20 season in the AHL before being brought up to the NHL for good.

...now compare to Grant Fuhr who had 43 games as a rookie in the WHL and 102 overall in the league. He only played 2 years in the WHL, but was sent down to the AHL in his sophomore NHL season.

3) The veteran vs the rookie. Sometimes it is a we’re sticking to the vet situation (see Belfour and Hasek in Chicago in 1991-92 after Hasek had shown flashes in relief of Belfour in the 1991 Cup Finals).

So even if he follows the path of the most dominant goalies coming out of that league he’s still got 2 years to make the Wings and 2 years to establish himself as the #1 starter. With the way rookie contracts and bridge deals go there isn’t cap or financial pressure before they are done with and that should be a 5 year window.

.so none of this talk of trading goalies… NO!


Posted by d ca on 01/18/22 at 04:05 PM ET


Griess would be the goalie they’d trade if it were possible at the deadline.

Yzerman signed Ned for 2 years for a reason. They need time to develop a goalie from within the organization.

As far as “elite” goalies, I never give a goalie that label until they have a couple of excellent regular seasons under their belt AND perform at a high level in the playoffs.

Posted by evileye on 01/19/22 at 12:12 PM ET

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Welcome to Abel to Yzerman, a Red Wing blog since 1977.  No other site on the internet has better-researched, fact-laden and better prepared discussions than A2Y.  Re-phrase: we do little research, find facts and stats highly overrated and claim little to no preparation.  There are 19 readers of A2Y. No more, no less. All of them, except maybe one, are juvenile in nature.  Reminding them of that in the comment section will only encourage them to prove that. Your suggestions and critiques are welcome: wphoulihan@gmail.com