Abel to Yzerman
by Paul on 01/18/22 at 11:04 AM ET
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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